Saturday, March 5, 2011

Broccoli and Pesto Tagliatelle

We had the most delicious (and fast!) dinner on Thursday: lemony chicken saltimbocca with broccoli and pesto tagliatelle. That chicken recipe will certainly turn up here some day. Today we're going to focus on the side dish.

This pasta recipe comes from my newest cookbook, Jamie's Food Revolution. I got it for Christmas, marked a slew of recipes that I wanted to make, and ignored it until last week. Now I've made two recipes from it: braised bacon cabbage (which I'll be redoing this coming Tuesday and hopefully posting) and this. The cabbage was very quick, quite simply, and incredibly tasty. Oh, and the whole house smelled like garlic and pancetta (I didn't have any bacon). This dish was equally quick, light and yet very satisfying. Since Jamie Oliver is clearly a brilliant man, I have to wonder why I left this book sitting for so long. Perhaps it's the pictures. While there are plenty of them, they are a bit . . . messy-looking? out of focus? I'm not sure. Whatever it is, though, I am sure that it was on purpose. This book is intended to teach cooking to people who really don't know how, so I think the pictures are meant to make everything feel real, like something the average person could do at home.

The simplicity of this recipe made it enjoyable to cook, despite my being sick and miserable at the time. Everything goes into one pot, drains, and then goes back in the pot to be tossed with the dressing. Very little mess. The hardest part was peeling the potato so thin - I don't have the right sort of peeler, so it was a bit of a chore. The most fun part was playing with the tagliatelle, which came in little nests. I'm not sure if it's the variety of pasta or the brand I bought, but it cooked incredibly quickly, too - just four minutes!

A few notes: I did not have any fresh basil so I just left it out. While this was definitely a solid pasta dish without it, I did feel like it was missing something. I think it would be killer with the basil. Next time I'll be sure to secure some. Also, I left out the broccoli stems. I love broccoli, but am not a fan of stems. However, I did feel like the recipe was a bit light on broccoli (this was particularly true of the leftovers, since I took a generous amount of broccoli the first night). Next time, I think I'll try including the stems to even out the proportions.

Broccoli and Pesto Tagliatelle
Adapted from Jamie's Food Revolution.

1 medium potato
1 head of broccoli
handful fresh basil
sea salt
1/2 lb dried tagliatelle
1/4 c green pesto
3 oz grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Wash and peel the potato. Use the peeler to slice the potato into very thin shavings (as thin as you can manage - they need to cook quickly). Cut off the broccoli florets and set them aside. Cut off the base of the stem and discard. Halve the stem the long way, then slice thinly (not quite so thin as the potato- 1/4" would be fine).

When the water is boiling, add the tagliatelle and broccoli stem and cook according to the directions on the pasta package. 2 minutes before the pasta is finished, add the broccoli florets and potato shavings to the water. When done (check the potato to make sure it cooked through), drain into a colander and return the pot to the stove.

Roughly chop half the basil leaves and add them to the pot. Combine with pesto and half the Parmesan. Return the pasta mixture to the pan and toss to combine with dressing. Serve garnished with remaining Parmesan and basil.

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