Friday, 6 July 2012

Pappardelle with broad beans, peas and prosciutto

Often when I finish work in the week, all I want to do is get home, eat something quickly and put my feet up. I also cook for my girlfriend Katie a lot, and I know that the last thing that she needs is to wait around for hours while I cook something up. This recipe is perfect for such occasions, it’s quick to make, seasonal, relatively cheap and involves a lot of ingredients that I have sitting in my fridge or cupboard. It also involves pasta, something that I could eat every day of the week and never tire of. Although you can use shop bought pasta, I really think that making fresh pasta is a joy. It adds the the theatrics of cooking, tastes amazing and you can make it in big batches and dry it out so it’s available quickly. 

As well as pasta, this recipe also used another ingredient that I have a slightly unhealthy liking for - peas. I’ve always loved peas, and even when growing up would often have a large bowl to accompany my meals. I then went to university and got mocked for this constantly! I always have a bag of peas in the freezer, and this year I have been growing them on my balcony. I had high hopes for these fresh peas but encountered a few problems - a) I keep on eating the damn things when out on the balcony, and b) the yield from three plants really isn’t that much. So I often revert to using the good old frozen peas, which work absolutely fine with most things. Peas and ham/bacon are a classic combination and give this dish a lovely salty and sweet taste. 
Serves 2 
For the pasta:
300g ‘00’ flour
3 eggs
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
To add to it:
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
4 slices prosciutto, cut into small pieces
2 anchovy fillets, roughly torn
1 large handful broad beans, podded and shelled
1 large handful peas
1 glass dry white wine
A few sprigs fresh oregano and parsley, roughly chopped
1 lemon, juice
1 large pinch of finely grated pecorino
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
First make your pasta. Put the flour, eggs, a good pinch of salt and olive oil in a food processor, and blitz until the mix looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Tip everything out onto a floured surface and knead together until the dough has an elastic texture but is not sticky. Knead in a little flour if necessary. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for half an hour to rest.
After half an hour, remove the pasta dough from the fridge. Using your pasta machine, roll the dough through each setting until it’s nice and thin, finishing on the setting before the thinnest - you want it to be thicker than ravioli. If you don’t have a pasta machine - you can use a rolling pin but it needs to be really thin. You will now be left with a sheet of pasta, cut this into a couple of pieces with each piece the length of how long you want the pasta. Fix the papparedelle cutter to the machine and put each piece through. Sprinkle a little flour over the freshly cut pasta and twirl into little nests. These can now be left to dry out if needed. 
To make the finished dish, fill a large saucepan with water, add lots of salt and bring to the boil. Also put a little olive oil into a large frying pan and turn onto a medium heat.
When the frying pan has heated up add the shallot, garlic and chilli, and fry for a minute or two until they start to soften. Now add the proscuitto and anchovies, stirring well so the anchovies start to dissolve into the other ingredients. After another couple of minutes turn the heat up a little and add the dry white wine and bring to the boil. Once the wine has bubbled away for a minute and reduced a little, adjust the heat back to medium and add the peas and broad beans. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the beans and peas are nearly cooked. 
At the same time as the beans and peas go into the pan, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until al dente. Note that if the pasta has been allowed to dry out this could take a couple of minutes longer. 
When the pasta is cooked, drain well and add to the frying pan, with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, the pecorino, oregano, parsley, lemon juice and seasoning. Stir everything together so that the pasta and beans are combined and cook together for 1 minute. 

Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, then everything is ready to plate up. Serve with a large glass of crisp white wine.

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