Saturday, September 19, 2009
Farfalle with Roasted Rapini, Tomatoes and Garlic
A seemingly simple dish of farfalle tossed with margarine, salt & pepper and roasted rapini, cherry tomatoes and garlic. The vegetables were tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper and then oven roasted at 450F for about 25 mins.
Although it appears super simple, this dish was a little more complicated with subtle extras in the flavour profile.
I utilised two methods that I read about recently on the blog Ideas in Food (warning, blog is not vegan): roasting dry pasta and rehydrating the pasta in cold flavoured liquid prior to cooking. After I read these, I was intrigued and had to try it myself.
The idea behind the roasting is to give the plain pasta more flavour -- a subtle hint of roasty goodness. I don't know why this isn't more popular. After all, we pan toast Israeli couscous before using it and it's technically pasta.
Here I've roasted plain farfalle (not whole wheat) in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350F. I checked it every 5 mins and tossed it around for roasting. I probably could have roasted for 20 minutes but didn't want to burn it because once it starts roasting, it gets roasted pretty fast. Keep reading!
I let the pasta cool for a few minutes and prepared a simple hydrating liquid. I took a can of quality whole tomatoes, mashed it up a bit and strained the juice. I added salt and enough cold water for the amount of pasta needed. The idea behind hydrating is to enable someone to cook the pasta much faster later (soaked pasta only takes a few minutes to cook) which would be great for a restaurant or even a home pasta party. I was less interested in the cooking method and more interested in the flavour infusion. The neat thing is that with cold water, the pasta does not stick since the starches aren't released until heat is added.
Anyway, I let the pasta soak in the cold liquid for about 1.5 hours. This is how it looked like after soaking. Keep reading!
I drained the pasta and cooked it in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Then tossed it with margarine, salt, pepper and my roasted vegetables.
The verdict? I could taste the roasted flavours as well as tomato infused in the pasta but it was very subtle. At first I was a bit disappointed because I guess I expected more flavour. HOWEVER, the more I ate, the better it tasted and the more addictive it became.
Even though there are a few extra steps and this takes some planning, I will definitely do the roast & soak pasta methods again and play around more with deeper roasting and other soaking liquids.