Pasta needs PR. It has a very salty reputation of being bad for health and is, in fact, spoken of in the same breath as burger and pizza. And I blame those restaurants that flash gourmet pictures on food aggregator apps and make them with unhealthy cheats. I feel this dish will put pasta back in the “green”.
And speaking of green, this recipe is all about green leafy goodness that parents and school teachers harp about but seldom get their children to eat. My LD Pasta Verdant is a surefire way to get your child to love the greens and also chow-them-down in record speed. Allow me to introduce you to the stars of the greens – spinach, broccoli, green bell pepper, parsley.
Relieved parents can thank me later for this one. Let us get on with the mise en place. Wash up about two handfuls of spinach (or half a bunch for three hungry heads). Chop them up roughly and keep. Use the stalks too. Yes, use the stalks. They haven’t done anything grievous to be separated from the others. Take broccoli next and give them a good bath. Chop them up roughly and also keep the stalks and the leaves. I see no reason to have a gastronomic grouse to keep stalks and leaves away from the broccoli florets. Cube up one whole green bell pepper after removing the seeds. Throw in a small cup of parsley, if you fancy.
Next shock-blanch the spinach for a few seconds – the exact amount of time taken by Michael Jackson to moonwalk from one side of the stage to the other. Please repeat favour with the rest of the greens. Get them to an ice bath to stop cooking and hold on to its verdurous nature. Put them all in a blender. Chuck in 4-5 cloves of peeled garlic and a bit of good quality olive oil. Blitz them into a purée.
Meanwhile, get your pasta in a roaring salty cauldron of water. You know the drill. If you don’t make pasta from scratch, follow instructions on packet to get them al dente.
Next, put a pan on fire, literally. Add in a generous amount of olive oil and slide in your green slurry. Woooh, this is the good bit. Season the slurry. Add in a bit of cooking cream to thicken it up and give it that wonderful poster colour feel! When you notice a few bubbles in it, get your pasta in it. Make sure a bit of the pasta water also gets in. Run a taste test. If all is in the ‘green’, take the pan off the heat and plate up.
Chuck in some pine nuts. I didn’t have any at home so I added some toasted walnut crumble. Dust in some parmesan (I need to know somebody who can get me one whole block of Parmigiano- Reggiano without robbing my own bank account).
Take a picture. Place it in front of your pasta-loving child. Stand back and watch it being joyfully demolished. Added bonus is when your child gives you a “thumbs up” and grants you “immunity a la Masterchef AU”. Good parenting done, you may now sit with your feet up, throw back a couple while watching your favourite inanity on OTT.