Thursday, 17 January 2008

Pain in the neck Pasta... Part 2!!

Well, this is the second (and hopefully last!) of my pain in the neck pasta mini series! The first was last week when I managed to put my neck out... it got somewhat better but by yesterday I was in loads of pain again. But I was recommended a chiropractor, who did all manner of strange things to my spine (acupuncture, a machine called 'thumper', posture alignment, and a bit of crick cracking!) and the upshot is, my back feels better than it has done for years. Though I am still somewhat taken aback (no pun intended, groan) that I have one leg 3/4 inch shorter than the other!!

Anyway - hope I haven't put you off your dinner - basically I made this before I went to see him - and again was focusing on max taste - minimum neck movements!

Creamy Leek Tagliatelle with Bacon & Mushrooms

I had an idea a few days ago of cutting up leeks lengthways into tagliatelle sized strips and mixing them through pasta. So I considered a few options before hitting on this combination - and hope the guys at Ruth's Presto Pasta night over at Once Upon a Feast will approve!

I did fancy a creamier sauce for a change - which is something I seldom get to eat due to Boyfriend's cream/cheese phobia. (Well, not quite a phobia, but bordering on it!) I was originally going to use a goats cheese, and just mix it into my portion, but then I saw portion size boursin cheese - each one about 16g. I used 2 for my pasta - and it was fabulous! Ok, so maybe not great for the waistline... but it was a treat! Boyfriend said it was great even without the creaminess - I just used extra stock for his.

As always my quantities are approximate. I served two good sized portions from mine.
  • handful of pinenuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 leeks - try to make sure they aren't too old, or they will go stringy - look for a diameter of less than 1.5 inches, and no yellowing.
  • Medium sized punnet of chestnut mushrooms
  • 2 rashers bacon (I used smoked back bacon, pancetta would work too... I also thought about chorizo - but my supermarket had sold out!)
  • boursin (optional and as required, see note above!)
  • About 150 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 clove garlic
  • knob of butter
  • olive oil
  • tagliatelle
  • salt and pepper to taste
Slice each leek in half, and pull out any hard core from the middle. Slice each half lengthways into tagliatelle-width strips and wash well.

Melt the knob of butter along with the olive oil, then add the leeks. Saute for 3/4 minutes, adding a couple of grinds of black pepper when they start to soften.

Add vegetable stock and simmer til tender, but still with a bit of bite.

Meanwhile, thickly slice the mushroom and roughly chop the bacon. It's probably about the right time to put the tagliatelle on to cook now!

Over a medium heat fry off the mushrooms and bacon. When the liquid comes out of them, add salt and pepper to season, the crushed clove of garlic, and turn the heat up. They are ready when all the liquid has gone and the mushrooms start colouring at the edges.

Once the pasta has cooked, drain (reserving some of the cooking liquor in case it needs loosening) and return to the pan. Add the leeks and a dash of olive oil, and combine so the leeks are worked through the pasta. Add the boursin, and mix til combined - this is when you may need some of that cooking liquor!

Place in dish, and top with the mushroom/bacon mix. Scatter toasted pine nuts on the top.

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Ruth Daniels said...

I'm glad to hear your neck is better, but I do hope that doesn't mean the end of pasta contributions to Presto Pasta Nights.

This one is a keeper! Pretty AND scrumptious!

Gay Carrillo said...

That's quite a leeky taste, I bet it tastes great.