Sunday, 18 January 2015

Try Raisin Your Standards

Casarecce con Broccoletti, Pancetta, Pinoli & Uva Secca
Casarecce with Broccoli, Bacon, Pine Nuts and Raisins


A little pasta anybody? Why sure! Pasta is one of those foods that everybody loves and that can be re-interpreted a million times over in so many different ways... you can never go wrong with a pasta dish!

Take this plate of goodness here- very Sicilian, very delicious and very easy to make- 3 good reasons to give it a try!


The pine nuts and raisins are so typical for old Sicilian dishes and they are the things that make this so unique and delicious... together with sweet, tender broccoli, salty, smokey bacon and plenty of ground chili- this is one great and different pasta dish you need to try out!


To make this, other than the 2 handfuls of Casarecce noodles, I needed just 2 handfuls of broccoli to go with them, 1 handful of finely chopped bacon, an onion and a few pine nuts and raisins. I had this lovely, red-skinned sweet "cippolone" from Sicily, but any old onion will do!


Casarecce are tubes of pasta, rolled together so that it looks like 2 tubes, with a little twist to them- pretty cool! But you can make the same dish with any pasta shape you might prefer.


The only prep-work you need to do is to cut the broccoli into separate little florets and to slice up the onion finely... otherwise- you are ready to get your water boiling for the pasta and your frying pan on for the rest!


As soon as the water come to the boil, drop in the broccoli- and at the same time, pop the pine nuts and raisins into your dry frying pan to toast slightly. This should only take 2-3 minutes.


As soon as the pine nuts and raisins are good, set them to one side and then add the pasta to the saucepan with the broccoli. Give it a stir and let them continue to boil for the next 5-6 minutes.


Next, whilst the pasta and broccoli bubble away, fry the bacon and onion together until they are nice and golden brown- the bacon crispy and the onion soft and sweet and delicious.


After 6 minutes of cooking time, pour off most of the water from the pasta and broccoli and then transfer them to the frying pan, but leave a little water in there for them to continue cooking.

This will de-glaze the pan, pick up all of the flavors and let them cook into the pasta. With this dish, what you want if for the broccoli to be slightly overcooked, so that it crumbles apart and coats the pasta- which was why we gave it a little head-start at the beginning. Season with plenty of nutmeg whilst it bubbles away and gently stir it so that it cooks evenly- it should take another 3-4 minutes in the frying pan... and then it will be ready to serve!


Add the pine nuts and raisins and plenty of ground chili flakes before serving, to have the full, Sicilian deal... or ok- you can simply use pepper if you don't eat so spicy!

Cheese would be an option... or even toasted bread crumbs in the traditional dish- but I choose to leave mine plain this time around- it is always all up to you, folks!


It is all about those crazy combinations of soft, crunchy, sweet, savory, mild and spicy that are going to make any meal in the whole world work or not work... and you have every single one of those things going on here in one really simple pasta dish... and ain't that just grand? I'll say it is!

 All that goodness and all that fun, all in one plate... how can you possibly resist?!?!

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