Summer has finally arrived. And not just a drizzly, temperamental English summer, but a fully fledged 30 degree heatwave. What, may I ask, is going on?
It is so hot that I am constantly ‘sticky’ and my face has developed a nice shiny quality that is not good for anything. But we must not complain. The sun might hear us and go back to hiding behind the big grey clouds.
With the summer have come the delicious green vegetables. Fine beans, runner beans, bread beans, peas in their adorable little pods, mangetout, asparagus, tenderstem broccoli. You feel healthier just looking at them. I wanted to make something good to accompany these lovely vegetables, and decided to make pasta. From scratch. Was it wise? We shall see.
The vegetables I chose were my favourites: asparagus, peas, fine beans and tenderstem broccoli. I think they also give a nice variety of textures and sizes, but things like that might not occupy as much space in the brains of other (i.e. normal) people. Since they are mostly quite long in shape, I thought a very long pasta shape such as tagliatelli would do nicely. Mix it all in with a creamy garlic sauce with a hint of nutmeg and some fresh basil and you’ve got a very tasty little dish.
I used Ursula Ferrigno’s basic egg pasta recipe from Truly Madly Pasta – a book I would definitely recommend. I won’t post it yet because my pasta making skills still have some way to go before being blog-worthy (I didn’t know I could make that much mess). The tagliatelli I made was much tastier than shop-bought, but took me over 2 hours to make. I was also in more than a bit of a rush to get it done, and therefore didn’t have time to take many pictures, which was very sad. However, it just gives me an excuse to make the entire dish again very soon. Yummy.
Summer veg tagliatelli
175g fine beans, sliced in half
100g tenderstem broccoli, sliced in half
150g asparagus spears, ends removed, sliced on the diagonal into 3 peices
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely sliced
200 ml double cream
100 ml vegetable stock
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste*
350g fresh tagliatelli
Large handful basil leaves
Salt and pepper
*I use a large pinch or two
Place the fine beans and broccoli in a large pan of boiling, salted water and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the peas and asparagus and cook for another 2 minutes. Drain the veg and leave in the colander with a tea towel on top to retain the heat.
While the veg are boiling, fry the onion in the butter in a non-stick pan over a medium heat until soft and golden. Add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes. Pour in the cream and the stock and bring to the boil, stirring. Add the nutmeg and some salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat down as low as possible and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Boil the tagliatelle according to pack or recipe instructions in a large pan of well salted water until al dente then drain. Immediately transfer back to the pan and add the cooked vegetables and basil leaves. Pour over the sauce and stir through the pasta until well combined. Serve with freshly grated grana padano cheese sprinkled on top and extra basil if so desired.