Monday, December 20, 2010

0 Recipe #222: Stelline with Rosemary & Red Chilies

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Here's yet another stelline recipe, which can be served as either a main course or a side dish. This one might seem very similar to the last stelline recipe I posted, but it's actually quite different. Although this dish does contain some of the same classic Italian flavors, it's actually got a much milder flavor. This is mostly due to the fact that, unlike the previous recipe, there's no garlic, lemon juice, or sun-dried tomatoes; there are also far fewer spices. However, the spices that are used -- particularly the rosemary -- take center stage, and are further enhance by the salty flavors of the olive brine & Parmigiano-Reggiano.

As mentioned previously, I'm trying to use up the rest of the fresh herbs & other produce before our trip. ;) There was exactly a half cup of stelline left, so that worked out perfectly too. The fridge is almost cleared out, & it feels good to know that nothing will go to waste. There's about enough food for about 2 more dinners, & enough leftover stelline vegetable soup from a few nights ago for about 2-3 more lunches. Think I'll be taking a break from eating/cooking stelline (& pasta in general) for a while. :)

Although our villa does have a live-in kitchen, I have to say that I'm also looking forward to letting someone else do the cooking for the better part of our vacation!

Stelline with Rosemary & Red Chilies

4 c. lightly salted water, seasoned with a drop of extra virgin olive oil (for boiling pasta)
1/2 c. stelline (mini star-shaped pasta)
1/4 c. olive brine (from container of fresh cured olives, like Kalamata, etc.; don't used canned olive brine!)
1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large, fresh bay leaf
1/4 c. fresh parsley, finely minced & tightly packed
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced & tightly packed
1/2 tsp. fresh Thai (Bird's Eye) red chili peppers, stemmed, seeded, de-ribbed, & diced (about 1 small pepper)
1/16 tsp. (a dash) ground black pepper, or to taste
2 Tbsp. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded (or shredded vegan cheese substitute)

Directions: Bring a pot of lightly salted water, seasoned with a drop of olive oil, to a rolling boil, about 8 minutes. Add pasta & cook until al dente, according to package instructions. (Barilla's stelline takes 7 minutes to cook.) When ready, drain into a colander, fluff with a fork, & set aside.

After the pasta's been cooking for about 4 minutes, sauté the bay leaf, parsley, rosemary, & chilies in olive brine & olive oil on low heat in a large (12-13") sauté pan for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then pour in the drained pasta, stirring frequently. When liquid has almost completely evaporated, remove from heat. Season with black pepper, & gently fluff. Discard bay leaf. Cover pasta, mix in shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (to melt it), & let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving. (Top with pine/pignoli nuts, if desired.) Serve hot or warm.

Yield: 3-4 servings as a side dish, 1-2 servings as a main course.

Chef's Notes: This dish doesn't require the addition of salt. The olive brine provides enough salty flavor as well as the necessary moisture to cook the herbs & pasta.

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