In my quest to eat more vegetables, I’ve been cooking like mad from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi. I plan on doing a review of the book in an upcoming post but for now, I’m sharing a recipe for Crunchy Pappardelle–broad noodles with a mushroom cream sauce, broccolini, and toasted panko breadcrumbs. The recipe calls for button mushrooms, which is fine, but I had some organic baby bellas on hand, so that is what I used for the shots here. I’d seen breadcrumbs added to pasta but hadn’t tried it before I came upon this recipe. Being such a textural eater and loving the interplay of crunchy and creamy, I’m a convert to this way of adding a little something extra to a pasta dish.
Ottolenghi’s Crunchy Pappardelle
1/4 cup olive oil
3 1/2 cups button mushrooms, halved
7 tbsps white wine
1 bay leaf
3 thyme springs, leaves picked and chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
2/3 cups heavy cream
salt and black pepper
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp panko
1 bunch broccolini
9 oz dried pappardelle
1) 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 saute the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown. Add the wine, bay leaf, thyme, and sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce the liquid by two-thirds. Add the cream and stir to mix. Taste and add plenty of salt and pepper. Keep warm.
2) Mix together the lemon zest, garlic, and parsley. In a pan over medium heat, toast the panko until golden, stirring occasionally.
3) Pick any leaves from the broccolini, then cut the stalks into 2 1/2 inch long pieces, cutting any thicker stalks down the centre or in quarters. Blanch in the small pot of water for 2 minutes and then drain.
4) Add the pasta to the large pot of boiling water. When the pasta is just ready, add the broccolini to the cream sauce and reheat. Drain the pappardelle, reserving some of the cooking liquid, and stir with the cream sauce; add half the parsley mix. If the sauce seems dry, add a little of reserved cooking liquid to dilute.
5) Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. Stir the rest of the parsley mix into the panko and sprinkle generously over the pappardelle then serve immediately with a few gratings of Parmesan cheese.