In fact, I'm going to.
Dispelling Food Myths
I hate the term 'Foodie'. I hate it for a plethora of reasons, and could write for hours about each and every one of them. I'm not going to, simply because I myself am what you might possibly, according to some people's definitions, call a bit of a Foodie, and I'm not in the mood for a written exercise in public self-loathing.
I think my main gripe with the term is that when I think of a Foodie, I think of somebody with that vile, despicable and hateful 'I-know-more-about-food-than-you-do' attitude which is so prevalent in certain circles (and that you seem to find in restaurant review columns in Sunday newspaper supplements).
I'm embarrassed to say that I have in the past shown evidence of this way of thinking myself. When I became a food obsessive (at around the age of twenty-one, if anybody's interested, though we can talk about that another time. And yes, that is my preferred term!), I started to read cookery books as thought they were great novels. I'd go to bed and read about food cultures that I'd never heard of before, and dream about tastes and smells of dishes from across the globe. And I started to think of what I'd read as facts. After all, if something is published in a book, it ought to be well-researched. Right?
Thus in Japan, diners are expected to start a meal always with a sip of the miso soup. When eating a Swiss fondue, you must never drink anything carbonated with it, for fear of indigestion. And Italians never add cheese to pasta with seafood.
Francesco shot that last one down in flames recently. He made this amazing pasta for us when he came to stay last, and when I remarked, during the preparation, that it was unusual to add parmesan to a fish dish, he said he'd never heard that said before. And that he often did. And in one fell swoop my food world fell apart.
OK, I'm making this more dramatic than it was, but in all seriousness, I was surprised. I have read about the cheese and seafood thing countless times, in so many different books by lots of different writers (though I have a sneaking suspicion that all the authors are quoting the same source, and I think it's Anna del Conte: I'm going to have a little check).
Anyway, the point is, Foodies and Foodie Knowledge are annoying! And they can be wrong. So there. Eat what you want how you want it. It's all good in this game called food. And thus, in the spirit of this new finding, I have resolved never again to tell Mr. Other P not to put ketchup on his pizza. I'm not putting it on mine though.
I have digressed. This was meant to be about pasta!
Quick summary -
This pasta is incredibly delicious, and was invented by Francesco. Reasons you should make it:
- most salmon pasta dishes have cream sauces, and this doesn't;
- it dispels a food myth;
- you can feed four hungry people really well for less than a fiver;
- you will use the blender. Everybody likes the blender;
- because I told you to.
Rigatoni with Smoked Salmon and Courgettes
You will need:
500g rigatoni, or other tubular pasta. Penne would be fine.
1/2 an onion, diced very finely (you could grate it - chopping that finely is a nightmare)
100g smoked salmon, chopped finely (you can use trimmings; they are cheaper)
2 large courgettes
75g parmesan (we used pecorino Romano, but only because of my Rome trip), grated
- Cut the courgettes into four chunks each. Place in a pan of simmering stock and cook gently until tender, around 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, sweat the finely chopped onion in olive oil, adding a little wine (or some of the stock) from time to time, to help it soften. After about 10 minutes or so, you should have a nicely softened mixture. Turn the heat up, and add the salmon. Cook briefly, until it just changes colour. Set aside.
- Cook the pasta, according to packet instructions.
- Put the drained courgettes in the blender with a little of the stock. Blitz to a vibrantly green purée. Add two-thirds of the cheese and blitz again.
- Drain the pasta, and dress with the courgette mixture and salmon and onions.
- Serve in warmed bowls with the remaining cheese.