Friday, 27 May 2011

Pasta e Basta!

Bavette con Salsiccia, Olive Nere + Cavoletti di Bruxelles
Pasta with chopped sausage, black olives and brussels sprouts

It's Friday night, I am home late from work and tired-out from a stressful week. Sure, I am looking forward to the weekend and all... but I just need something quick and easy to eat, something satisfying and comforting. I need a night-in and a rest! As usual, my fridge is running low at the end of the week, as Saturday is that day that I raid the indoor market in Frankfurt. So it is time to improvise again. Luckily I have a chunk of Italian sausage, a few olives, a bit of salted ricotta cheese and a handful of Brussels sprouts there. Just what I need to make a yummy, "emergency" pasta supper! Nothing hits the spot like a hot bowl of pasta!

I start out by chopping the sausage into very small pieces and frying it in a dry pan. As soon as it starts to give off its juices, I add a chopped clove of garlic, a chopped spring onion and a good pinch of cumin seeds. This combination, along with the sweet Brussels sprouts and the salty Ricotta and olives is a truly delicious mix. Season with
plenty of black pepper and set to one side.

Boil the pasta in the classic way in plenty of salt water. The way to get your pasta to taste good is to not skimp on the salt whilst boiling it. The water should be as salty as sea water. You will have a hard job making your pasta too salty at this point... but you will have an even harder job to season the finished dish nicely afterwards if you don't. The pasta will only absorb so much salt anyway and the rest gets poured off when you drain it.

So just do as your told! Plenty of salt in the water- not so much in the other ingredients!

Cut your sprouts in half and drop them into the pasta water after around 5 minutes. They will only need 4-5 minutes to cook themselves. This makes it easier to time everything and save you unnecessary washing-up! Drain the pasta after 8-9 minutes... it should still have plenty of bite and need to cook for a little while longer. Now add a good splash of milk and grate generously with nutmeg. Carry on cooking for a further 2-3 minutes till the milk is absorbed... you will find the pasta becomes creamy and has a delicious "Bechamel-like" flavor. Add a drizzle of olive oil and you are ready to serve.

The finishing touch is a nice grating of salted Ricotta. Which is why I don't want you to season the sausage and olive mix- there is enough seasoning in this combination of ingredients that you don't need the added salt. A final grinding of black pepper and one last drizzle of olive oil... and you can kick-back and let the weekend begin!

Buon appetito!

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