Thursday, September 29, 2011

pasta primavera with parmesan and white wine sauce

Guess what made me crave pasta primavera. It would put most people off pasta primavera for a little while... but not me, I guess. I was watching that episode of Seinfeld where Russel Dalrymple, an NBC executive with whom Jerry is trying to start a pilot, orders pasta primavera at a restaurant. Elaine sneezes on it and he ends up getting violently ill.

So of course, I thought to myself.... that's what I want for dinner! Isn't it totally absurd how my stomach and my brain works?

I learned to make the roux for the sauce from Julia Child. I felt if anyone would know how to do this properly, she would. It's tricky business putting white wine in a sauce with milk. You have to do things in the correct order. If done improperly, you'll have a curdled mess on your hands. I have heard that you can avoid curdling altogether if you use heavy cream, but in a dish like this, I'll take an almost invisible curdle (in fact, totally invisible in your bowl, just not on your finger when under scrutiny) to avoid the extra fat and richness. This is a primavera, not an alfredo. If anyone has any tips on this that don't involve simmering your wine for an hour and a half, I'd love to hear them.

The other very important part of this is the cheese. Use high quality, properly aged parmesan reggiano. The flavours here are subtle and delicate, so you really need a good cheese to add some depth.

Also.. this is not going to make a lot of sauce. That's okay, because you don't want this to be a gloppy mess. You want the sauce to coat the pasta, but only just.

pasta primavera with parmesan and white wine sauce

1 box of spaghetti (500g)
your chopped vegetables of choice - I used 1 orange pepper, 2 small zucchinis and a broccoli floret

2 tbsp butter
3 tsp flour
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups of milk, heated until just before boiling
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (reggiano)
reserved pasta water (I used 1/4 cup)

more cheese for sprinkling

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and gradually add flour, whisking to remove lumps. Add the white wine gradually and whisk until smooth. Gradually add hot milk and again, whisk until smooth. Add cheese and pasta water (from after you add the veg to the pasta).

While making the sauce, boil your pasta according to package directions. Add your broccoli and zucchini 2 minutes before draining, and your peppers for the last minute.  Reserve the pasta water for use in the sauce, then drain.

Toss pasta and vegetables in the sauce, then serve sprinkled with a generous amount of cheese. Always more cheese!

No comments:

Post a Comment