Sunday 25 May 2008
Recipe: Farfalle with Lemon & Hazelnut sauce.
First cousin to the wonderful recipe for Risotto with Lemon & Sage, this is one of those dishes where the first mouthful is greeted with an exclamation of surprise, quickly followed by an exclamation of pleasure. The flavours here are as unexpected as they are delicious, and the overall effect is light and unctuous - perfect to be included in any summer menu.
I once heard Matthew Parris wax lyrical in decrying the silliness of all the different shapes of pasta, when in fact - in his opinion - all they are is different methods of presenting exactly the same ingredients in myriad forms. Well, articulate though he was on the subject, his argument was wrong, and this combination of sauce and pasta type is a prime example of the fact. Different pasta shapes work well with the varying textures of different sauces - and the shape of Farfalle is perfect for this sauce, where the creamy lemon coats the exposed flanks of the pasta shape, while the crunch of the hazelnuts is contained within the ends of the individual pieces of pasta, and thus spread evenly throughout the dish.
Ingredients: 14 oz Farfalle; 2 oz Butter; 4 medium cloves of Garlic, peeled and minced; 2 medium Lemons; 3 oz Hazelnuts ; 4 tablespoons each of fresh Basil and fresh Parsley; 4 tablespoons of Cream; seasoning; grated Parmesan, to serve.
1. Toast the Hazulnuts under the grill for several minutes, taking care not to let them burn. Once toasted, let them cool slighty, then rub them with a dry cloth to remove the skins. Process them briefly in a food processor, but don't go too far -you want them to be roughly chopped, not reduced to a powder! (You can use pre-processed toasted and chopped nuts instead, if you'd rather, but I don't the result is quite as good as doing this stage yourself).
2. Put water to boil for the Pasta, adding the appropriate amount of Salt, and a slug of Oil (to prevent the pasta shapes from sticking together as they cook). Follow the packet instructions for the time needed to cook the Pasta - normally about ten minutes - and carry on with the sauce as the Pasta is cooking.
3. Melt the Butter in a small pan; add the minced Garlic to this, and - having stirred it, and cooked the Garlic in the Butter for a minute - add the chopped Hazelnuts and sauté the mixture over a medium-high heat for a further minute. Add to this the grated rind from the Lemons and then set the mixture aside.
4. Once the Pasta is cooked, drain it into a colander, leaving perhaps a couple of tablespoons of cooking water in the bottom of the pan. Add the Lemon-Garlic-Hazelnut mixture to this water and stir quickly.
5. Return the cooked Pasta to the pan and stir to coat it with the Nut mixture, then add the juice from the 2 Lemons (you should have four tablespoons), the chopped fresh herbs, and the Cream. Stir, to coat the Pasta thoroughly in the sauce; check the seasoning and adjust if necessary, then serve, topped with freshly grated Parmesan.