Monday, June 06, 2005

Pasta with butter and stock cube juices

I woke up yesterday to find my computer dead. It was stuck – just restarting over and over, but never opening Windows. ARGH! And my half-completed cinema studies essay, due in the next day, was trapped inside.

So I sent my brother out to try and fix it, and spent the morning studying for today’s Japanese exam. At about 12:45pm, motivated not by hunger but by apathy, I headed over to the kitchen and started making myself lunch.

12. Pasta with butter and stock cube juices
13. Dijon Mustard Dressing

The pasta, from the One & Two chapter, is a last-minute, store-cupboard adaptation of the Italian way of making pasta sauce from leftover roast meat pan juices. Nigella says to melt butter with oil, garlic, rosemary, and ½ a stock cube, before adding wine, water and more butter. So I started it off, and was about to crumble in the stock cube, when “ding!” a light went off in my head and I realised that it would be a better idea to use the leftover jus from yesterday’s roast chicken that we had sitting in the refrigerator. Because if this recipe was a store-cupboard version of pan-juice, wouldn’t using actual pan juices result in a vastly superior dish? So I left out the stock cube, and put half of the jelly-like, wobbly jus into the pan with the other ingredients, and let it melt before boiling up and swilling in some tagliatelle (also leftover from Friday dinner).

Pasta and salad

I had a salad because I decided I needed something green, for extra vitamins, you see. The dressing is from the Low Fat chapter. And yes, I do realise that it might seem pointless to have a low-fat salad dressing with pasta drenched in butter and chicken fat, but I was more interested in its taste, than its nutritional properties. (Also, we had all the ingredients for it lying around). I really liked it! The mixture of Dijon mustard, soy, orange juice and balsamic vinegar provided a nice, zingy change from the really common oil and vinegar combination.

The pasta was so, so good! The sauce doesn’t look like much, but it is incredibly flavoursome. It thinly and drippingly coats the slippery tangle of pasta, with the tastes of the wine, butter and chicken permeating through. I even got some toast to mop up the extra juice, as I couldn’t bear to waste a single drop. I don’t know how good it would be with stock cubes instead of proper pan juices, but I’ll probably give it a go sometime in the year. Or of course, someone else could just try it and post me a review!

I suppose this pasta is the Italian version of the traditional English combination of bread & dripping. Well, at least I imagine it’s traditionally English from reading Enid Blyton. I always used to think that dripping would be gross – because the only version of dripping I knew of was those big margarine-like tubs that sat in the supermarket dairy case, blaring out “DRIPPING – RENDERED ANIMAL FAT” in big block letters. Feral. Real dripping, from a proper roast chicken, on the other hand, is fantastic. You could also stir it through rice, as per my mum’s suggestion.

Jus - dripping - winey wobbly jelly - gravy

Luckily for me and my essay, however, after lunch my brother came to the rescue, and following some nifty work with a USB stick, a screwdriver and a friend’s computer, we retrieved my essay and I continued typing it up on his laptop.

I was so impressed with the pasta and dressing that I had the exact same thing for dinner, whilst studying. Boiled more pasta, washed more salad and finished off the remaining chicken jus and salad dressing.

At my desk

The utter fabuliciousness of the pasta is beyond comprehension, and far be it from me to attempt to convey it to you through words. Just make it yourself, and eat it. I almost felt bad for not sharing it with anyone, because I knew my mum would have loved it. But all this solitary studying and essay writing has me in a selfish kind of mood, you know, like Ciara... My goodies, my goodies, my goodies, not my goodies...


Ilana said...

I'm just about to make it now, as couldn't be arsed to think of anything but a cupboard dinner... Will post results soon, and pictures on MSN if they come out nice!


Ilana said...

Oh my, you're so right!!! This was so flippin' marvelous!!! Thanks for the inspiration, yet again! check out my pic when you have time ;)

Sarah said...

Hey Ilana!

Glad you enjoyed the pasta, it's brill, isn't it? Loved your pic too!

xox Sarah

PG_Julia said...

Already got cornish pasties defrosting for a late dinner when Jo gets home late from work. Shame. I really fancy this now :o(

Maybe tomorrow lunch or supper....