Thursday, 14 March 2013

A Humble Feast

Risoni con Broccoli, Pancetta & Cipolla
Risoni Noodles with Broccoli, Bacon and Onion

Another long day, another cold ride home. The snows seem slowly to be melting and thawing slowly, but still the Winter has its icy grip on us and refuses to let us go. And so I decided to make a gentle move between the seasons with this dish... comforting enough for the Winter, yet light enough to let us sense the onset of Spring. Sounds almost as poetic as it was tasty... haha! But not quite!

The true poetry in this dish is in the wonderful way the flavors of such humble ingredients combine to become something quite sublime. The combination of bacon, onion, fresh greens and nutmeg is a force of nature... able to change your mood from dark to bright in just a matter of minutes. This is food for you heart and soul as well as your body. Try it, take a bit... and you will see just what I mean...

I had the few last florettes of broccoli that needed to be used up, the bacon and onion are always there... and pasta of course a-plenty. But this evening, I decided on a favorite of mine... risoni. So I started off by frying the finely diced bacon and finely sliced onion together in a non-stip pan until they were nicely brown, then set them to one side and added the risoni, a little finely chopped garlic and splash of milk to deglaze the pan. I then added enough boiling water to cover the risoni and let it simmer away for a minute or two, whilst I cut the broccoli down in size into bite-sized pieces. They were next into the frying pan, along with a good splash of milk- enough to bring up the level of liquid so that it covered the pasta again... and then I seasoned of my slowly materializing meal with salt, pepper and nutmeg. That's all it takes!

Once the liquid had reached boiling point again, I turned the heat down to a low simmer, and let the pasta and broccoli cook together for a further 7-8 minutes. By that time, the pasta had absorbed most of the water and milk and the starch that developed during cooking had thickened it up nicely into a smooth and creamy consistency. To further thicken the "sauce", I added just a small handful of grated parmesan, stirred it in and added a little drop of olive oil before turning off the heat. I told you this dish was simple!

Served up with a good sprinkle of coarsely ground pepper and some parmesan cheese, I would say that this was a paupers meal that was fit for a king! And definitely good enough for me... and I hope for you too! Enjoy!

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