Wednesday 10 November 2010

Recipe: Pasta with Rosemary Sauce

This is one of the best last-minute dishes I've ever found. Perfect for those occasions when prep time has disappeared, and dinner needs to be conjured out of airy nothing in about ten minutes flat! Best of all with fresh pasta (I generally serve it with fettucine...which takes around ten minutes to roll out and cut, with about fifteen minutes elapsed time between the two processes), this sauce is still pretty good even with the stuff out of a box or packet.

The recipe comes from Marcella Hazan, and is to be found lurking amongst the also-ran pasta sauce recipes in Volume 2 of Classic Italian Cooking -I'd owned the book for years before I got round to trying it. Many recipe writers today (and I suspect Hazan herself would be amongst them, these days) would disdain powdered stock as an ingredient; in fact, it is quite brilliant here, and works wonderfully well with the astringence of the rosemary.

The sauce is so quick and simple, you need only start it at the same time as you put the pasta-cooking water onto heat (for fresh pasta) or after you've put boxed pasta into the pan, and you still have a few minutes before it's done.

For four.

Ingredients: 4 oz Butter; about 6 sprigs of Rosemary, each one 4" or so long; half a teaspoon of powdered chicken Stock, or half a stock cube, crumbled between your fingers.


1. Melt the Butter in a small pan, over low heat; the butter wants just to melt, and certainly not to colour or start to bubble.

2. Strip the Rosemary needles from their stems, and chop very finely. Add this to the melted Butter, along with the powdered Stock.

3. Stir everything together, until the powdered Stock has dissolved into the Butter. At this point, turn off the heat, and stir into the cooked pasta as soon as it has been drained. No further seasoning should be necessary, and parmesan shouldn't be served with this dish, as it would only fight with the delicious flavours already there.

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