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Rachel Roddy’s fusilli with leek, potato, parmesan and hazelnuts – recipe | Italian food and drinks

Watching any pasta form being extruded, be that by means of a small home machine or an unlimited industrial one, is hypnotic. Quick shapes are notably mesmerising, as a result of the dough – produced from durum wheat flour and water – emerges at pace from the bronze or Teflon-coated die, and is then chopped to dimension by a rotating blade. After which there are fusilli, whose helix kind is created by an ingenious die that was invented and perfected within the early 1900s. Fusilli twist their manner into being, the Syd Barrett of pasta shapes, rising from the die in a psychedelic spiral.

The fusilli form is an outdated one. In her Encyclopaedia of Pasta, Oretta Zanini De Vita traces the form again to the fruitful Arab domination of Sicily and Sardinia, and the forming of the pasta by twisting dough round a skinny reed generally known as a bus. The behavior travelled and De Vita notes that fusillo grew to become a southern Italian dialect time period for any pasta made by wrapping or urgent dough round or right into a ferretto, a skinny steel rod with tapered ends, generally known as a fuso. As you may in all probability think about, shaping pasta round a slender rod (or, alternatively, a knitting needle, bicycle wheel spoke or umbrella rib) and sliding it off makes for a selected kind, generally like scroll of paper, at others canoes and even free ringlets, all of that are nonetheless present in southern Italy. The commercial kind, in the meantime, which took a long time to good, is a helix or spiral and has since travelled all around the world. As with all pasta, the standard of the durum wheat used, and the way in which it’s extruded (by means of bronze, which provides texture) and dried (steadily, and with nice consideration) has an enormous impact on the style.

The psychedelia continues in any respect phases: because the fusilli falls from the bag and into the water, because it rolls round within the pan and because the spirals meet the sauce. Which brings us to the opposite factor about fusilli and their twisted cousins eliche, radiatori, rotini and gigli: they’ve an distinctive skill to entice, their gill-like edges designed to catch no matter they’re supplied, whether or not that’s butter and grated cheese, a ragu of some sort – or a dish we’re having fun with not less than as soon as per week in the mean time: fusilli with leek, potato, parmesan and toasted hazelnuts.

That is one other pasta dish that illustrates the potato precept, wherein a medium-sized peeled and diced potato is key. Given a head begin after which cooked alongside the pasta, the potato collapses a bit and its starchy softness capabilities as a type of glue that brings the dish collectively. The leek additionally must be cooked in butter and olive oil till it’s tender and simply caught by the pasta.

Topping the dish with a couple of toasted, roughly chopped hazelnuts is elective, however extremely beneficial, as a result of they distinction so properly with the tender leek and potato sauce. The fusilli, pleasant in addition to hypnotic and psychedelic, are very happy to select them up, too.

Fusilli with leek, potato, parmesan and hazelnuts

Prep 15 min
Prepare dinner 20 min
Serves 4

1 medium potato
, peeled and diced small
400-500g quick pasta – fusilli, radiatori or rotini
1 giant leek, cut up, washed and lower into skinny half-moons
3 tbsp olive oil
20g butter
, plus further to complete
A handful of grated parmesan or grana padano, plus further for serving
A handful of roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts

Warmth a big pan of water. As soon as it boils, add salt, stir and add the potato. After a few minutes, add the pasta and set the timer in line with packet cooking directions. Whereas the pasta cooks, saute the leek and a pinch of salt within the oil and butter, till very tender.

As soon as the pasta is cooked and the potato is tender and collapsing, use a spider sieve to raise each into the leek pan and toss every little thing properly. Add the cheese, freshly floor black pepper and one other knob of butter and toss once more. Serve topped with the chopped hazelnuts and extra cheese, if you need.

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