Friday, 18 November 2011

Butterflies In Your Tummy

Farfalle Integrale, Cavoletto, Patate, Pancetta e Fagiolini
Wholemeal Farfalle with Cabbage, Potato, Bacon and Green Beans

And you thought there were no more butterflies around in the Fall, didn't you? Well, these butterflies are a little different to those "normal ones- these butterflies are of the darker, wholemeal variety. And very tasty they are too!

Wholemeal pasta has become more and more popular over the past couple of years. I used to notice it on the supermarket shelves when I would visit my parents in Sicily a couple of years ago, when it used to be something a little obscure and exotic. Last year there were almost as many wholemeal noodles on the shelves as regular ones. And now we even have them in Germany...

A lot of people tell me they don't like the flavor of wholemeal pasta. And maybe- if you are going to pour tomato sauce over it, you are probably not going like it, as you will have a preconceived idea in your mind of how pasta with tomato sauce should taste. So I think it is best to try other dishes and different ideas with wholemeal pasta. And this is one of them.

Combining wholemeal pasta with potato is not a new and crazy idea- it is an old and crazy idea from Puglia and it is a great combination. I started off with some diced potato, finely chopped bacon and shredded cabbage, which went into a dry non stick pan as ever, and fried only in the bacon's own fat- no added oil or butter. Not only do you not need extra fat, but the bacon gives the potato and cabbage a great flavor.For more flavor, add caraway seeds, a little ground chili, finely chopped garlic and a little finely chopped red onion... and keep on stirring!

Whilst the potatoes are browning, put the pasta on to boil. It will take about 8 minutes to cook, which should be perfect timing. After 5 minutes, add the beans to the pasta so that they finish cooking together- it's easy to multi-task! Speaking of which, at this point you can also add a little of the pasta water to the potatoes, bacon and cabbage. What happens next is that the potatoes begin to give off their starch into the water- just a little- but you will see that the bottom of the pan will become a little sticky. Once the water evaporates and the bacon continues sizzling, this will develop a lovely rich taste- just don't let it burn! Keep stirring away- those are all good flavors!

Drain the pasta and beans and add them straight to the frying pan and get everything mixed nicely together. Add some finely chopped parsley, grate generously with nutmeg and add a splash of milk. Keep stirring and you will see that everything comes together nicely and becomes lightly creamy in consistency. Now you can add a little olive oil, right at the end for a subtle olive flavor. Serve immediately, with some grated salted ricotta cheese and a little more chili... and enjoy this great, simple and hearty pasta dish while it's hot!

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