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Tag: pesto

Spaghetti with Asparagus, Burrata and Ramp Pesto

Spaghetti with Asparagus, Burrata and Pesto

I think spring is my favourite season – until I feel the same in summer, autumn, or winter, depending on my mood. Spring offers a lot of drama and surprises. The changeover from the cold season is so drastic, so abrupt. There’s so much energy around and inside me all of a sudden without even knowing where it’s coming from. The temperature rises, nature’s sprouting and flourishing at every corner, adding colour to a scene that was brown and grey only a few weeks ago. I welcome these changes with gushing excitement and open the doors to my kitchen for all those greens that are soon to come to my cooking space.

In the past couple weeks, the fragile leaves of fragrant ramps brought Mediterranean pesto back to our table. And crisp asparagus is next. The official harvest start of the white asparagus from Beelitz happened last week, so let the feasting begin! When I eat the white stalks, I’m quite a traditionalist. Young potatoes, ham, and Hollandaise sauce is all I need. But when it comes to green asparagus, I become more experimental.

This little lunch was as simple as it was stunning: I added the green stalks, boiled and very thinly sliced, to a plate of warm spaghetti, burrata (mozzarella di Bufala would also work), and ramp pesto. You could also go for a basil or arugula (rucola) pesto, but I enjoyed the subtle oniony flavour in my green creation. In case you disagree, you’ll find the links to all three pesto recipes below. Buon Appetito!

Spaghetti with Asparagus, Burrata and Pesto

Spaghetti with Asparagus, Burrata and Ramp Pesto

Serves 2

For the ramp pesto
(here you can find alternative recipes for basil or arugula pesto)

ramps or ramson, leaves only, 1 medium bunch (around 60g / 2 ounces)
parmesan 30g / 1 ounce
olive oil 60ml / 1/4 cup
salt 1/4 teaspoon

For the pasta

green asparagus, the bottoms cut off, 1 pound
spaghetti 150-200g / 5-7 ounces
olive oil
burrata (or mozzarella di Bufala) 200g / 7 ounces
ramp pesto about 4 tablespoons
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed with a mortar

For the pesto, purée the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth and season with salt to taste.

Cook the asparagus in plenty of salted water for about 3 minutes or until al dente. Using a slotted ladle, transfer the asparagus to a colander (leave the water in the pot), rinse the stalks briefly with cold water, and drain. Using a sharp knife, lengthwise, quarter each stalk into 4 long pieces (including the heads).

To cook the pasta, put the pot you used for the asparagus back on the heat, bring the water to the boil (add more water if necessary), and cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain, transfer back to the pot, and stir in a tiny splash of olive oil.

Divide the pasta and asparagus between 2 plates, folding the vegetable into the spaghetti. Break the burrata in half and place in the middle of each pasta plate. Drizzle with pesto and a few drops of olive oil (optional) and season with salt and crushed pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Spaghetti with Asparagus, Burrata and Pesto

 

Spaghetti with Asparagus, Burrata and Pesto

 

Spaghetti with Asparagus, Burrata and Pesto

 

Spaghetti with Asparagus, Burrata and Pesto

Spaghetti with Lemon Pistachio Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala

Spaghetti with Lemon Pistachio Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala

I love to end the year with a plate full of spaghetti. It gives me the kind of comfort that pasta masters to perfection. Its beauty and magic lies in simplicity – and in many happy carbs. This year’s combination is tangy, a bit creamy, and nutty –  it makes me feel good and that’s all I need. So here’s my Mediterranean creation to celebrate the changeover from 2016 to 2017: spaghetti with lemon pistachio pesto and mozzarella di Bufala.

In the past 12 months of this turbulent year I felt my limits quite often and I flew higher than I thought I could ever fly without burning my wings. I saw my first cookbook being born, being celebrated during my book tour in Berlin, London, Malta, New York, and Washington. I saw the Eat In My Kitchen book reaching the New York Times’ list of ‘The Best Cookbooks of Fall 2016’, which I still can’t really believe. So much love and support came into my life, so much happiness has been spread through this book that feels like a baby to me. There were unbelievable highs, so many wonderful moments, moments that I will feel thankful for for the rest of my life. But there were also lows and losses that tore trenches into my heart that will hurt for the rest of my life. I lost a person who’s been so close to me that I sometimes can’t even say who’s me and who’s him. He was my mentor, my supporter, my biggest critic, my challenger. He was my friend, my most beloved Swabian, and my step father. I wouldn’t be who I am without him, and I’ll never again be who I was before he left this world. Eat In My Kitchen wouldn’t be what it is without him.

I want to thank all of you for supporting me and my book, for being there and for coming back to these pages here on the blog. Eat In My Kitchen makes me grow every day, this blog makes me go back to my kitchen and experiment more than I would do if I didn’t write about it. Thank you for being on this journey together with me.

Have a peaceful and joyful start into the New Year!

Meike

Spaghetti with Lemon Pistachio Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala

Spaghetti with Lemon Pistachio Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala

Serves 2

dried spaghetti 200g / 7 ounces
olive oil
mozzarella di Bufala, torn into bite sized pieces, 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

For the pesto

freshly grated lemon zest 4 tablespoons, plus more for the topping
freshly grated young Parmesan 4 tablespoons, plus more for the topping
finely chopped shelled pistachios (unsalted) about 1 tablespoon, plus more (roughly chopped) for the topping
olive oil 3 tablespoons
fine sea salt

In a large pot filled with salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and stir in a little splash of olive oil.

For the pesto, in a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, Parmesan, pistachios, and olive oil and use the back of a spoon to press the Parmesan into the oil until well combined. Season to taste with salt.

Divide the spaghetti and mozzarella di Bufala between plates. Sprinkle with pesto, additional lemon zest, Parmesan, and pistachios. Season to taste with flaky sea salt and crushed peppercorns, serve immediately.

Spaghetti with Lemon Pistachio Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Spaghetti with Lemon Pistachio Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

pastalemonpistaSpaghetti with Lemon Pistachio Pesto and Mozzarella di Bufalachiopesto6

Froga tat-Tarja – Maltese Pasta Frittata with spicy Green Pesto

pestopastaomelette1.2

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend told my about this Maltese classic from his childhood days: Froga tat-Tarja, a golden pan fried pasta omelette. This is the essence of Southern comfort food, it works all year round, but I mixed in some spicy green pesto which gave it a fresh spring feel. I must admit that my initial plan was to go for basil pesto but my little Mediterranean kitchen plant looked too sad. I can see it trying so hard (and hopelessly) to grow more leaves so I couldn’t bring myself to rip it up and leave it naked with only some slim stalks stuck into the soil.

I also had some rucola left and could have easily turned that into an aromatic pesto but you can imagine what happened next, ramp came to mind as always at this time of year and all other green pesto options were kicked out in a split second. It’s garlicky spiciness combined with its really short season make it simply irresistible to me. So if you have any green pesto, some eggs and leftover pasta lying around in your kitchen, whisk it together, throw it in a pan like a pancake and fry until golden brown. Wonderfully easy comfort cooking, thanks to the leftovers!

pestopastaomelette2.2

 Froga tat-Tarja – Maltese Pasta Frittata with spicy Green Pesto

leftover spaghetti or capelli di angelo, cold, 120g / 4 1/4oz
organic eggs, beaten, 2
ramp pesto, or any other green pesto, 1 heaped tablespoon plus more for the topping
(recipe here)
salt 1/2 teaspoon
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar, to taste
parmesan, grated, for the topping
olive oil

Whisk the eggs, salt, pepper and pesto and mix with the pasta. Heat a splash of olive oil in a small pan (21cm / 8″) and fry the egg pasta like an omelette until golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle with parmesan and a little more pesto, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

pestopastaomelette3

 

pestopastaomelette4

Spaghetti with Green Asparagus Anchovy Pesto

Spaghetti with Asparagus Anchovy Pesto

Asparagus season could be extended for months if it were up to me! So many recipes bring out different sides of this vegetable, especially the green asparagus, it’s so versatile thanks to its strong taste.

This one is a pesto, light and fresh with a smooth texture, almost velvety. The preparation is the same as the broccoli pesto I made in March, the cooked vegetables are mixed with some of the water they are cooked in. I added garlic, fresh hot chili peppers, tarragon (my herb of the month) and anchovies. The fish adds a soft saltiness  which only makes this composition complete. I once made this pesto without as I had run out and it really wasn’t as good. I use 4 anchovies for 500g (1 pound) of asparagus, I originally started with just 2 when I made it the first time. I  thought they would be too strong for the pesto but sometimes in cooking you shouldn’t be shy, being brave is the key to success!

Spaghetti with Asparagus Anchovy Pesto

Spaghetti with Green Asparagus Pesto and Chili Peppers

For this meal it’s best to warm the plates in the oven.

For 2 hungry people you need

spaghetti 200g / 7 ounces
green asparagus, the woody bottom part cut off, 500g / 1 pound
water used to cook the broccoli 30ml / 1 ounce
olive oil 60ml / 2 ounces
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon
anchovy preserved in salt, rinsed and dried, 4 fillets
garlic, crushed, 3 cloves
tarragon 12 leaves
fresh red chili pepper, finely chopped, 1, half for the pesto the rest for topping
salt and pepper

Cook the spaghetti al dente.

In a large pot, cook the asparagus in lots of salted water for 7 minutes. Keep the water, take the asparagus out with a slotted ladle and cut into 3cm / 1″ pieces. Set the heads aside and leave for the topping.

Purée all the ingredients for the pesto in a blender (except the asparagus’ heads and the chili peppers for the topping). Season with salt (carefully, I didn’t need to add any because of the salty fish), pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Arrange the spaghetti, pesto and asparagus’ heads on the warm plates and sprinkle with chili and crushed black pepper.

Spaghetti with Asparagus Anchovy Pesto

 

Spaghetti with Asparagus Anchovy Pesto

Fava Bean Pesto with Mint on a Sandwich

Fava Bean Pesto with Mint

Finally, fava beans are back in season and just peeling them is a sensual experience! These beans are crunchy beauties wrapped in silky transparent shells, protected by the velvety inside of their fleshy pods. To peel them, smell them and finally taste them is a spring highlight to me! I know it sounds a bit overwhelming, but spring vegetables have this effect on me. Luckily, the preparations have a meditative side effect as you have to buy lots of  beans to end up with just a handful of this green treasure, but the effort is worth it. The firm texture and fresh green taste stands for everything I love about spring!

Usually I peel the beans out of the shells to achieve a finer taste but for my pesto I skipped this part. The beans were so young, the skin so tender and soft that I could keep them in their shell which also has a nutritional value.

This time, I made a pesto out of my fava beans, cooked only 5 minutes and mixed with garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and fresh aromatic mint. You could mix it with pasta and some grated Pecorino but I spread it on a sandwich. I covered my juicy focaccia bun with a thick layer which I sprinkled with even more chopped mint leaves.

Fava Bean Pesto with Mint

Fava Bean Pesto and Mint Sandwich

For 4 sandwiches you need

focaccia or soft buns 4 (you could also use thick slices of ciabatta bread)
fava / broad beans, peeled out of the pods, in their shells, 900g / 2 pounds for around 260g / 9 ounces of peeled beans
garlic, quartered, 1 clove
water 100ml / 3.5 ounces
freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 teaspoons
olive oil 1 tablespoon plus more for frying
fresh mint, chopped, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon
salt and black pepper

In a sauce pan, fry the garlic in a little oil on medium heat for 1 minute and mix in the beans. Add the water, season with salt and pepper, close with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes.  With a slotted ladle (you will need some of the liquid), take the beans and garlic out of the pan and purée in a blender (or with a stick mixer) together with 1 tablespoon of the liquid from the beans, the lemon juice ,1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of mint. Season with salt, pepper and mint to taste and spread voluptuously on your sandwich.

Fava Bean Pesto with Mint

 

Fava Bean Pesto with Mint

 

Fava Bean Pesto with Mint

Serrano, Mozzarella di Bufala and Pesto Focaccia

Serrano Mozzarella Pesto Focaccia

When my brother in law stayed with us 2 weeks ago I asked him about his favourite sandwich. I often ask friends as it’s a great inspiration for my Sandwich Wednesday but it’s also interesting to find out about different sandwich preferences. It may sound silly, but a favourite sandwich says a lot about a person! He answered quick and with a smile on his face, Serrano, mozzarella and pesto sandwich with toasted pine nuts on top. He is a true gourmet, I know and appreciate his sense for fine food, so I didn’t wait too long to get all the ingredients, I was curious!

I chose an Italian Focaccia bun from my bakery for this sandwich, juicy and baked with lots of olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. I bought 8 thin slices of Serrano and one Mozzarella di Bufala of 125g / 4.5 ounces which I cut into thick slices. I made a quick pesto, a handful of basil leaves chopped finely with a big knife, mixed with a tablespoon of good olive oil and some salt. While I cut the 2 buns open and filled them with the prosciutto and mozzarella, I toasted the pine nuts in a sauce pan without oil on medium heat for a couple minutes until golden. I drizzled the pesto and pine nuts on top, took the first bite and smiled like my brother in law did when he told me about this absolutely delicious sandwich! It’s great!

If you would like to share your favourite sandwich with me, just get in touch! I would love to try different sandwiches from all over the world, quick ones, complicated ones, exotic, puristic or sumptuous, whatever your taste buds like! Just get in touch here,

Meike xx

Serrano Mozzarella Pesto Focaccia

 

Serrano Mozzarella Pesto Focaccia

 

Serrano Mozzarella Pesto Focaccia

A Gnocchi Treat with Pumpkin and Nuts

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Walnut Pesto

I love Hokkaido pumpkin, in fact I always buy too many of them. They look stunning, their curvy shape and bright orange colour – I can’t resist! Whenever I see a nice one I have to buy it and end up with far too many pumpkins in my kitchen. I have two on my kitchen table right now – perfect candidates to mix into tonight’s Gnocchi dough!

Usually, I make potato Gnocchi with blue cheese sauce or sage butter, but today it’s pumpkin Gnocchi with walnut pesto. They are absolutely delicious and easy to prepare. The most important trick is: never mix the flour with the warm pumpkin and potatoes! The mixture must be cold, that way the Gnocchi will keep their shape and have the right, firm texture.

This recipe has been featured on Food52 Halfway To Dinner!

Pumpkin Gnocchi

 

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Walnut Pesto

There are two important rules for Gnocchi making:

1. First, you make the pre-dough with the pumpkin, potatoes, butter and egg yolks which has to cool completely before you mix in the flour, otherwise the Gnocchi will turn out too soft.

2. Mix more flour into your Gnocchi mixture if it’s too sticky. If the dough is too soft, the Gnocchi won’t stay in shape.

 

For 4 people you need

For the walnut pesto

walnuts 100g / 3.5 ounces plus more for the topping
parsley, chopped, 3 tablespoons
olive oil 110ml / 0.5 cub, plus more to taste (enough to give the pesto a smooth but thick texture)
salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a blender and season with salt and pepper to a taste. Add more olive oil if the mixture is too thick.

 

For the Gnocchi

pumpkin, seeds and fibres scooped out, cut into 2.5cm / 1″ cubes, 600g / 21 ounces
(I like to use Hokkaido pumpkin with skin, or peeled butternut or Musquée de Provence)
potatoes, peeled, cut into 2.5cm / 1″ cubes, 200g / 7 ounces
organic egg yolks 2
butter 2 tablespoons
plain flour 280g / 10 ounces
salt 3 teaspoons
nutmeg, grated
pepper

Cook the pumpkin and potatoes in lots of salted water until soft (for about 15 minutes). When they are done, take them out with a slotted ladle and drain them (gently push with a spoon and make sure that no more water comes out). Press the drained potatoes and pumpkin through a potato ricer, take any water out that might come out with pressing.

Mix the warm pumpkin/ potatoes with the butter and egg yolks and put in a cool place (or in the fridge) until the mixture is completely cool.

In a large pot, bring lots of salted water to the boil.

With a spoon, mix the cold potato/ pumpkin mixture with the flour, salt, nutmeg and pepper until combined. If the texture is too sticky and not firm, mix more flour in.

Dust your hands with flour and roll the dough into a sausage shape (about 1cm / 0.5″ thick) on a well floured working surface (in batches). Cut off Gnocchi of 2.5cm / 1″ length and put them on a well floured baking sheet.

Cook the Gnocchi in the water in batches on medium heat (simmering). When they start to come up and float on the surface take them out with a slotted ladle and drain them. Keep the Gnocchi in a covered ovenproof dish in the warm oven (100°C / 210°F) until the last batch is done.

Serve the Gnocchi sprinkled with the pesto and some crushed walnuts.

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Walnut Pesto

 

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