Ottolenghi’s Lemon and Walnut Fettuccine
Ottolenghi’s latest cookbook, Plenty More, was at the top of my Christmas list this year. As soon as I made it through the wrapping paper I set myself up for a good half hour of gazing (and drooling) over the beautiful photos and delicately flavoured recipes. Ottolenghi, though not actually a vegetarian, has the most incredible relationship with vegetables, in fact I read somewhere that he is known as the man who ‘sexed up vegetables’. Amen to that. If you haven’t glanced over the bold pages of Plenty More then you must do so as soon as possible. I swear it could convert any veggie-hater into the most loyal of followers. Influenced by his Israeli upbringing, many of the recipes are shaped and underpinned by differing middle eastern flavours. In fact there are many ingredients that I haven’t heard of; za’tar, sumac, pomegranate mollases, dukkah. As a wee Yorkshire born lass, I fell into a sad state knowing that my local Tesco would not sell these items. However, I very recently stumbled across the Ottolenghi online pantry, where all his unique spices and oils can be ordered. Happy days!!
I kinda new I was getting Plenty More for Christmas. I made it very clear to my mother when I was in Waterstones; my hints were as subtle as a flying brick. I’m at that age now where Christmas looses all sense of wonder and surprise. Sad times!! However, I did get a very unexpected present from my sister; a pasta machine, as well as a farfalle and ravioli cutter. Of course I was so over the moon. I’ve always wanted to experiment with homemade pasta, but I knew that I couldn’t achieve the right thinness and texture without a machine. And so the experimentation begins… As soon as I got home from my New Year celebrations I had the machine out ready for play time. I mixed up a batch of pasta dough with 450g of ‘oo’ flour and 5 eggs, kneaded for ten mins and then let the dough rest for half an hour. I flattened the dough out a little before feeding it into the machine, using the lowests (the widest) setting, and then repeated the process until the dough was lovely, glossy and thin before slicing it into shape. I was so surprised as to how easy it all was. I swear I’m never going to buy dry pasta again (a promise I recognise I might break…). To prevent the fettuccine from sticking together, I hung all the pieces onto coat hangers, a rather innovative idea if I say so myself. A good tip is to use semolina flour, but sadly I had none. However, the coat hangers sufficed. So what does a woman do with coat hangers of fresh pasta?!? Well, many a recipe popped into my head at the time, but eventually I went with one I found in the lovely leaves of Plenty More; Ottolenghi’s Tagliatelle with Walnuts and Lemon.
- 120g walnuts, roughly broken up
- 60g unsalted butter
- 20g sage leaves, finely shredded
- grated zest of 1 large lemon
- 6 tbsp of double cream
- 400g tagliatelle or fettuccine (fresh or dry)
- 100g parmesan, shaved
- 30g parsley, chopped
- 4 tbsp of lemon juice
- salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas Mark 2.
- Spread out the walnuts onto a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
- Place a medium frying pan on a high heat and add the butter. Cook the butter for a minute and then add the sage. Fry until the butter begins to turn brown. Then add the lemon zest, cream, 1/2 tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper. Cook the creamy mixture for a minute so that it thickens.
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. If you using fresh pasta, then cook til al dente, which should take 2-4 minutes. If using dry pasta, then cook for appoximately 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the water.
- Warm the sauce through, adding a little of the cooking water if it has become thick. Then add the sauce to the pasta, along with the walnuts, parmesan, parsley and lemon juice.
- Serve at once with garlic bread.