Today was the day when we saw many of our neighbours for the first time in months. At least, for the first time when they weren't bundled so deeply against the cold that we didn't know who we were waving to.
And thus it seemed appropriate that I'd post Crunchy Pappardelle today, which seemed like a spring recipe the first time I made it on the coldest of winter days. It wasn't just the light cream sauce with the lemon flavour, it was the fact that it used pappardelle, which I was certain was associated with the spring. In fact, I googled it before writing this post, only to find that "pappardelle" means "gobble up". That's appropriate too, since that's exactly what we've done to this recipe every time I've made it.
In the end, I'm not sure what I was thinking of. Perhaps papillon, which is French for butterfly? Whether or not it was meant for the spring, I can't think of a better way to bid adieu to winter than by gobbling up this pasta before heading outside with the rake.
(adapted from Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi)
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 1/2 cups button mushrooms, halved
7 Tbsp white wine
2 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs, leaves chopped and stems discarded
1/2 tsp sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
salt and black pepper
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 Tbsp chopped parsley
3 Tbsp panko
1 bunch, 3 – 4 cups, broccoli (or broccolini)
9 ounces dried pappardelle
Bring a large pot of salted water and a small pot of salted water to a boil. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan and sauté the mushrooms until they start taking on colour, stirring occasionally. Add the wine, bay leaves, thyme and sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce the liquid by two-thirds. Remove bay leaves, add the cream, and stir to mix. Taste and add plenty of salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Mix together the lemon zest, garlic and parsley. In a pan over medium heat, toast the panko until golden, stirring occasionally.
Pick any leaves from the broccoli, then cut into individual florets. Blanch in the small pot of boiling water for 2 minutes and drain.
Add the pasta to the large pot of boiling water. When the pasta is just ready, add the broccoli to the cream sauce to reheat. Drain the pappardelle, reserving some of the cooking liquid, and stir with the cream sauce. Add half of the parsley mix. If the sauce seems dry, add some of the reserved cooking liquid.
Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. Stir the rest of the parsley mix into the panko and sprinkle generously over the pappardelle. Serve immediately.