Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pasta with fennel, ham and potatoes

Hello everyone, my friend Rob mentioned to me recently that he loves a good pasta. I was really happy that he said this because I adore pasta and eat it several times a week, so I have been very, very conscious of not putting up too many pasta dishes on this blog (and looking back I think I went to the other extreme). Anyway, I was pleased because I thought good, that's a good reason to go back and cook one of my favourite winter pasta dishes during the week and share the recipe with you.

The recipe comes from one of my most used and treasured cook books, which used to belong to my darling Dad, and he cooked lots of recipes out of it too. It's called "Trattoria Pasta" and it's by Loukie Werle. I haven't ever spotted it in a book shop but if you do ever see it I suggest you grab it - I have never had a failure out of it, and I have made three quarters of the dishes in it!

This is a great dish for winter as it's quite hearty. I love potatoes in pasta dishes as I find the combination very soothing. I usually substitute verjuice for white wine and did when I made this dish this week. Verjuice has the same effect in cooking as does white wine, but I prefer the flavour, I think it can really lift a dish. You can buy verjuice pretty well anywhere these days, certainly in delis and good green grocers that have deli items.

Have a fabulous week. Love from Jane xx

Pasta with fennel, ham and potatoes

Serves four

What you need:
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, finely sliced
  • 185g ham (preferably in chunks rather than the usual thin slices)
  • 2 medium waxy potatoes, boiled in their skin, and cut into cubes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or verjuice)
  • 500g pasta
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

What you do:
  1. Put the water on to boil for the pasta.
  2. Heat the oil over a medium heat and add the onion and fennel.
  3. Cook until the onion is soft, stirring frequently, for about five minutes.
  4. Add the ham and potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another five minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the wine or verjuice, cover and simmer for five minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta.
  7. Have a heated serving dish ready.
  8. Drain the pasta, turn into the heated dish and add the ham and vegetables.
  9. Sprinkle over the parsley and Parmesan.
  10. Toss well and serve immediately.