Friday, 6 January 2012

A Thing of the Pasta...

Farfalle Integrale con Patate, Cavolo, Pancetta & Ricotta Salata
Wholemeal Farfalle with Kale, Potato, Bacon and Salted Ricotta

Yes, I suppose strictly speaking, dinner tonight was indeed a pretty old-fashioned affair- albeit a little updated for the year 2012! But back in the old days, after the 2nd world war, people were learning to stretch those supplies, to make the most of what they had and to make a nutritious meal from next to nothing. Ha! As if I can't do that in our current times of penny-pinching! Get a load of this!

Take a generous handful of wholemeal "Farfalle" pasta, (ok- 2 if you are really starving!), one small "fingerling" potato and one small leaf of kale per person and you can transform them into this tasty and satisfying dish...

Start off by boiling the pasta according to the package instructions- wholemeal tend to take a little longer, so it will be 8-9 minutes at a guess. Whilst it is boiling, dice the potato- I left mine unpeeled- and drop it into the salted pasta water for 3-4 minutes in a sieve- why not make use of that boiling water? What you are doing is par-boiling the potatoes to save you time when frying them with the bacon... which is the next thing you are going to do.

Drain the potato dice and fry it together with a handful of chopped bacon, a finely diced shallot and a little finely chopped garlic. This should be going on by the time the pasta has been cooking for 6-7 minutes... which brings us to our next ingredient: the kale.

I used some frozen kale that I had saved from a previous meal as an experiment. As I had saved the leaves as they were, without blanching them first, I was a little dubious as to how they would turn out... although there was no reason for it- it was just fine! I cut it into fine strips and dropped it into the pan with the pasta as well. The final 2-3 minutes of boiling are plenty for the kale- it will have a wonderful color and  be tangy and have a nice bite- just perfect for this dish.

In the meantime, those potatoes should be golden, brown and delicious, the bacon crunchy- and your taste buds tingling!

Drain the pasta and add it to the diced potato and bacon, add a little olive oil, grate with nutmeg, sprinkle with chili flakes and you are almost there. The finishing touch is of course grated salted-ricotta cheese, which is rich, flavorful and the perfect combination. And the whole dish is done in no more than 10 minutes... which is no surprise coming from me now, is it? And you KNOW you want to try it! So go ahead! And Enjoy!

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