Thursday, 20 September 2012
Italian Childhood Memories...
Stars and crescent moons make up the shapes of this gorgeously pretty variety of pasta for children. So I am inspired to create something that reminds me of shooting stars and happy dreams. Dress the pasta with as much of the sauce as you like, as some children like lots of sauce and others only want it barely coated, and refrigerate or freeze the rest for later use. To turn it into something slightly more sophisticated, substitute the ham for chopped chorizo or salame, and add some finely snipped fresh chives.
To dress up to
120 g/4 1/2 oz Garofolo Anistelle pasta for children
1 spring onion, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons organic tomato passata
2 tablespoons mascarpone or single cream
1 slice cooked ham, cut into strips
3 baby sweet corn cobs cut into thin comet tail strips
A pinch of salt
Long shavings of fresh Parmesan, to garnish
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, fry the spring onion very gently in the olive oil until soft but not coloured. Add the passata and stir together. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, and then stir in the mascarpone or cream, the ham and the sweet corn cobs. You should end up with a sauce that is swirly and dreamily pink, with the long comet tails of the sweet corn through it. Cook the pasta until tender in the boiling water, drain and toss with the sauce. Pile the pasta into bowls or on to plates, garnish with the Parmesan shavings and serve at once.
P.S. For special occasions, finish off the dish with a tiny dusting of edible gold glitter, a little stardust sometimes works wonders on even the fussiest of diners!
BAKED MOTORI WITH HAM AND CHEESE
MOTORI AL FORNO
This is a very simple and easy dish that I remember very fondly from my childhoood in Tuscany. I really prefer to use Penne when I make this as it fits the memory much better, but I’ve tried it out with the Motori shape from the Garofolo range and it really works too. You can of course add other things to the dish such as grilled bacon, cooked peas, mushrooms or cauliflower florets, or blue cheese for a much stronger flavour. You can easily make this ahead and freeze it for later.
140 g Motori pasta
salt and pepper
200 ml/7 fl oz ready made béchamel or cheese sauce
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
2 slices best baked ham, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Meanwhile, heat through the sauce and melt three quarters of the cheese into it. Drain the pasta and pour it back into the pot. Add three quarters of the sauce and the ham. Mix together. Grease a large ovenproof dish with half the butter. Pour in the dressed pasta and arrange it carefully. Pour over the remaining sauce and dot with the remaining butter. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake in a preheated oven at Gas mark 6/400 F/200 for about 15 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Remove from the oven, rest for 5 minutes, then serve.
Anistelle with cream, ham and peas
This is an all-time favourite in Italy, and the pairing of ham and cream with the addition of very sweet soft peas make this recipe a totally irresistible even the fussiest of child
Ingredients for 4 children
240g Anistelle (Garofalo La Giostra dei Bambini pasta)
1 shallot finely chopped
30 ml EVOO
100 ml single cream
50 g grated parmesan
200 g peas (either fresh in season, of petit pois frozen)
100 g ½ cm thick cooked ham (York ham is fine or any good quality ham) cut in very small cubes or finely chopped.
1 tbs chopped parsley
In a shallow pan add EVOO and the finely chopped shallot and sauté until soft. In the meantime in a small pan cook the fresh or frozen peas, drain and set aside.
Add the finely chopped ham and cook gently a couple of minutes.
At this stage add the peas, and season to taste but be aware the ham is already salted and parmesan will be added eventually.
When all ingredients are well incorporated, add the cream and warm trough.
In the meantime boil a copious amount of water (at least one litre per 100 g of pasta), and when boiling add the salt, roughly speaking 2 TBS rock salt, add the pasta.
Cook to al dente (for anistelle 12 minutes)
Drain well the pasta and add it to the sauce, mix well and sprinkle with the chopped parsley and the parmesan.
Serve at once.
Guest post credits: All are made using the children’s range of Garofalo Pasta (‘La Giostra dei Bambini’ – ‘the children’s merry-go-round’) – Pasta Garofalo. Moonbeam Pasta & Motori have been created by Italian chef, Valentina Harris and the Anistelle dish was created by MasterChef finalist, sara Danesin Medio