One of the cookbooks we picked up this Christmas was Saturday Night Pasta by Elizabeth Hewson, a self-taught home cook.
Her passion is clear.
Flicking through around 100 pasta recipes, she provides a wonderful introduction and background to the recipe. Nat and I both sat in the kitchen eyeing each receipt off, reading the background and saying, “yep, this is the one” until we flipped the page and it all started over.
We settled on this particular pasta and it was excellent.
The subtle Indian spicing is of course completely unusual, though as Elizabeth puts it, “the lesson here is don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.”
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half to release its flavour
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 tbsp salted butter
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tbsp dry white wine
400gm can whole peeled tomatoes (I used cherry)
1/2 cup pouring cream
1/2 tsp caster sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
If making fresh pasta (Half the book is given over to pasta making techniques.)
Maccheroni a descita, Pici.
If using dried pasta
Gnocchetti sardi, Bucatini.
- Heat a deep frying pan over a medium-heat. Throw in the cinnamon, garam masala and cardamom pods and toast for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the butter, 1 tbsp of the olive oil, the garlic and give everything a good stir for about 30 seconds to until the garlic is soft – you don’t want it to burn.
- Pour in the white wine and watch it bubble and drink up the flavours for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cream, sprinkle over the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Give everything a big stir, then reduce the heat to low and leave to bubble away for 30 minutes, allowing the spices to imbue their flavours and the sauce to thinking.
- Bring a large saucepan to the boil and salt the water. Add the pasta and cook until al denote. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
- Heat a small frypan over a medium heat. Add the remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil and the panko crumb and cook until golden.
- When everything is ready, fish out the cinnamon stock and cardamom pods and throw in the drained pasta. Stir, adding a little pasta water if necessary.
- Divide into bowls, shower generously with the breadcrumbs and serve.