I have to share this dish because it was a reminder of an important lesson: Not every dish will be a complete success. It’s the risk taken when trying new recipes- even if they are from a trusted resource.
I am also sharing this dish because I think it can be rescued! I have updated the recipe below. The fresh pasta was lovely, with wonderful color and texture, so that portion of the dish has remained untouched. The mustard-shallot butter was overwhelmingly potent in the finished dish, so the proportions have been modified; I reduced the mustard and shallots by at least one-half.
This dish was so pretty and loaded with wonderful flavors! I was really disappointed that it wasn’t as delicious as it sounded or looked. Especially because it was particularly time-consuming to prepare. 😦 This recipe was adapted from The Greens Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine from the Celebrated Restaurant by Deborah Madison with Edward Espé Brown.
Yield: Serves 2 to 4
For the Fresh Herb Pasta:
- 1 cup loosely packed herb leaves (I used a mixture of basil and parsley)
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- large pinch coarse salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp olive oil
- water, as needed
To Complete the Dish:
- 1 recipe Fresh Herb Pasta, about 7 oz (recipe above)
- 7 T unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
- 1 T strong Dijon mustard
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, or more, to taste
- large handful of arugula, roughly chopped
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 2 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into small pieces
- 4 cups cauliflower, broccoli, and/or romanesco cauliflower florets, cut into small pieces
- thin strip lemon peel, very finely slivered
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish
To Make the Fresh Herb Pasta:
- Wash the herbs and dry them as thoroughly as possible.
- Chop them very finely, I used a mini-food processor, and measure out no more than 3 T.
- Combine the herbs with the flour and salt.
- Add the egg and the oil, and combine until distributed throughout.
- Press together to form a dough. If it is too dry, add drops of water, a few at a time, to moisten it and help it come together. (I used 2-3 tsp of additional water.)
- Turn the dough out onto a counter- I put it onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form into a ball.
- Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until it feels smooth and supple. (I added a little bit more water while kneading as well.)
- Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and set it aside to rest for at least 30 minutes, preferably for one hour.
- Roll the dough through the pasta machine, starting at the widest setting, and reducing until desired thickness is achieved. ‘(I rolled mine out to level 6.)
- Cut the strips into desired noodle length, typically 12-inches. Then cut the dough into 1/2-inch wide noodles. (I actually chose to cut mine crosswise into shorter 1/2-inch wide noodles.)
- Dust with semolina flour or flour, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.
To Finish the Dish:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Cream 4 T of the butter with the mustard, shallot, garlic, vinegar, and arugula. (This can be done ahead of time, covered, and set aside until needed.)
- Melt the remaining 3 T butter in a small frying pan, add the bread crumbs, and fry them until they are crisp and browned.
- When you are ready to cook the pasta, salt the boiling water.
- Melt the mustard butter over a low flame and cook to soften the shallots. Add 1/2 cup pasta water and the sun-dried tomatoes.
- Steam the cauliflower and/or broccoli in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. Alternatively, the cauliflower and/or broccoli can be dropped into the boiling pasta water, returned to a boil, and cooked for about 1 minute, until tender.
- Add the cooked cauliflower and/or broccoli to the butter.
- Next, cook the pasta for about 2 to 3 minutes, until al dente. Add it to the butter.
- Add the sliced lemon zest to the butter.
- Toss well with tongs, season with salt and pepper.
- Serve garnished with the bread crumbs and freshly grated Parmesan.
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