Saturday, December 17, 2005

Piglia e Fieno

My Italian really isn’t good and so I confess I did use an on-line translator to find the English name for this dish. It sounds so sophisticated in Italian doesn’t it? It actually means “Hay & Straw”. I assume this refers to the mix of green and white tagliatelle that is used in the dish.

Recipes like this make me smile. If I read back over previous posts, this one comes off as easily one of the more in-depth or even complex recipes, when you take the name of it at face-value. In reality, this really is simple. I found the recipe in an old book of my Mum’s last weekend, when we went to stay for a couple of days. Upon reading the list of ingredients and method, I felt this to be surely too basic, lacking in process and construction; lacking in flavour. Typically I immediately decided to tweak it and add more things. I substituted the fresh peas for broad beans and added capers, since I’m addicted to them at the moment. The former turned out to be a wise move, the latter ingredient tells a different story. I new it was an odd thing to put in but that really didn’t concern me. As I have said many times before: it’s good to throw things you like into a dish, particularly if you have them to hand and can substitute them for other ingredients you don’t have. In this instance however, I came a little un-stuck and so I don’t include or particularly advise the addition of capers in this recipe.

What You Need:

2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
200g / just under ½ lb Broad Beans (or fresh shelled peas if you wish)
100ml / 3 ½ fl oz Double (heavy) Cream
250g / ½ lb Fresh Green & White Tagliatelle
30g / 1 oz Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
Pinch Freshly Grated Nutmeg
Salt & Cracked Black Pepper

What You Do:

  • Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add the broad beans and cook over a low heat for 2-3 mins.
  • Add the cream and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 ½ mins, until slightly thickened, before removing from the heat.
  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook for 3 mins. Drain the pasta thoroughly and return to the pan.
  • Add the beans and cream to the pasta over a low heat. Add ¾ of the parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper and grated nutmeg.
  • Use tongs or 2 forks to thoroughly mix the pasta and sauce, still heating gently.
  • Serve in deep bowls, adding the remaining parmesan and any extra seasoning if necessary.

There we have it: A very simple dish that offers more return for your efforts than you might imagine. This is the kind of recipe suitable for almost anybody. It would sit well amongst the pages of a student cook book, whilst equally being at home to the busy housewife or husband who can only afford the minimal investment of time in the kitchen.


Andrew said...

more cream.. more parmesan... oh, what the hell...

Rachael said...

I have a favorite dish (black beans and rice) that translates to Moors and Christians, the least PC name I can imagine.


Rebecca Sheffield said...

what an insightful article this is...I think I will enlarge it... frame it...and put it in my house....over my bed. This kind of cooking genius can only be accomplished by the sort who have spent years "tweaking" their talents. I cannot imagine how much you must have invested in this treasure of yours. Oh please bless the world with your gift. You are such an inspiration to me. I would love to know more about your personal life also...are you married? does your wife have family? any siblings? what are they like? these are the kinds of things your readers NEED to know.