Sunday, 11 March 2012
Pizzoccheri Vivaldi (Fresh Wholewheat Pasta With Spring Vegetables and Sausage)
A sunny day! I had been so busy working away and writing, hour after hour, for two days, I felt the need to go outside. The birds were singing, the sky was blue, the daffodils fully out, in all their custard coloured glory, my beautiful gigantic camellia in full bloom, big and majestic, like a soprano... it all felt pretty good!
In my little vegetable patch, my bietole (Swiss Chard) was beginning to show off its shiny green splendour: little green leaves lifting their "arms" towards the sun... and there I was, looking at all of this and trying to find the first few buds on my newly acquired red currant bushes, when I got the urge to "make" something good and beautiful, using some of the ingredients in front of my eyes.
I picked a couple of handfuls of shiny leaves, a lovely sprig of fresh rosemary, a bunchlet of Italian parsley and in I went!
I had seen this recipe in one of my Vero Cucina magazines which I have A LOT OF here and at our house in Italy, a recipe for Fresh homemade wholewheat pizzoccheri (pasta rectangles) with Swiss chard, sausage and fontina cheese.
Having got hold of all the ingredients, I decided to make it. I would also make my own pizzoccheri with wholewheat flour (a first for me!)
I think I definately re wrote Vivaldi's Primavera (Spring) with this one!
(Fresh wholwheat pasta
vegetables and sausage
For the sauce
4 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
a sprig of fresh rosemary
a small bunch of fresh parsley
a glass of red or white wine
200g ( 7 oz) Swiss chard
1 little gem lettuce
120 g Fontina cheese
Home made Pizzoccheri
400g (14 oz) wholewheat flour
I made my sauce first. Before I started, I took the skin off my sausages, so I would only have the meat, then chopped it finely.
Next, I chopped my garlic clove, my parsley and rosemary (this needed to be chopped extremely finely, as rosemary can be a bit tough and woody.)
In a large frying pan, I heated the olive oil and, when piping hot I added the garlic, cooked until golden, then I put in my meat and fresh herbs. I stirred until the meat became brown, but not burnt.
At this point I added a glass of wine, turned the heat up and let all the alcohol evaporate ( the recipe calls for red wine, but I actually find that red wine is intrusive and turns meat a funny colour I dislike! )
My sauce was made! At this point I added a lot of grated Parmesan to my sauce, I grated mixed peppercorns all over it and tasted for salt. Quite, quite delicious...
Having washed my chard and my little gem lettuce, I decided to chop the lettuce, but leave my baby chard leaves whole, as they were so pretty, delicate and tender!
At this point, with the sauce off the heat, I put some cold water in a largish pan, to heat. Whilst I was waiting for it to come to the boil, I made my pasta, using flour and enough warm water to make a firm, but soft dough. It took five minutes. I left my dough to rest for about 15 minutes, then I rolled it out and, using a large knife, I cut out my pizzoccheri. It was so easy!
By now my water was boiling, so I added all my vegeatbles with some salt, cooked for about 6 or seven minutes, then added my pizzoccheri pasta, making sure to stir.
Within six or so minutes, my pasta was ready to be drained, together with all those green beauties.
When I added pasta and vegetables to the sauce, and most f my fontina cheese, I began to smell a truly delicious aroma: fresh vegetables, wholewheat flour, fresh herbs, cheese, some meat: music on a plate!
I mixed everything together in the pan, added more cheese and pepper and garnished with more fresh parsley and a few diced pieces of fontina!
Don't be put off by the number of words I have used to describe this dish, as it truly is very, very easy and quick, and, of course, you don't have to make fresh pasta, if you don't want to (I normally wouldn't!)