Rustic, seasonal veggie pasta with a wild twist
This simple, quick, yet delicious dish is easy to make. If you don't have time to make your pasta, just use a good dried one: don't leave out the truffle though—it opens up a whole new world of deliciousness.
200g organic white spelt flour
2 egg yolks
50g fine semolina
50ml rapeseed oil
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 good bunch of cavolo nero, stems stripped from leaves, all well washed
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, picked from the woody stem
A little fresh English truffle (or a lot!)
50g Old Winchester cheese, grated
First make your pasta dough. Combine the flour, whole egg and egg yolks in a bowl with a spoon. Make sure you evenly distribute the ingredients so as not to end up with a dry, crumby nightmare on one side of the bowl and a wet sticky nightmare on the other. Once evenly combined, work by hand into a smooth dough. Cover and leave to rest for a few mins.
Roll out by hand using a little flour if needs be, but use as little as is possible. When the dough is about the thickness of a credit card, cut it into long, 3cm thick strips. Cut these into 2.5cm wide parallelograms (diamond shapes) and then pinch the two closest together points to form the 'straccetti'. Place the shaped pasta on a surface dusted with a little semolina.
Place a large, casserole-type pan on a medium heat and put a smaller pan of salted water on to boil. Add the rapeseed oil to the large casserole dish or wide saucepan with the chopped garlic and a little salt and pepper.
Finely chop the cavolo stems and begin cooking them in the oil and garlic. You need to be careful, but not too shy, doing this. You want to be somewhere between sweating and frying: too hot and the garlic will burn; not hot enough and it will take forever to cook the tough stalks.
Once the stalks are tender, simply put the pasta on to cook. It won’t take more than 3 mins because it’s so fresh.
Add the thyme to the cavolo stems and drop in the leaves of the cavolo, roughly chopped as well.
Add a small ladle of the pasta water to the cavolo pan and then drain the pasta and add that too. Cook rapidly until the liquid in the pan just coats everything and looks shiny without being greasy. Turn off the heat. Grate in plenty of English truffle, stir, and serve sprinkled with Old Winchester on top.
Recipe: Tim Maddams