Monday, 22 August 2011

Penne con straccetti e rucola

In the beginning of our relationship we decided to make a list of 10 dishes that could be made in 10 minutes. Of course this was not because we do not like to cook, but just a result of the golf season, the concert season and the summer. Monday night was an occasion for one of our quick dishes, if ever there was one. Arriving home late after a reception we embark on our penne con straccetti e rucola. This dish was inspired by something K had in Rome some years ago (but not as a pasta dish) and maybe also something T has tried to recall (unsuccessfully). Whatever, here goes...

Two sirloin steaks are cut into thin strips and fried briefly on a hot pan (if T remembers he has to wait until it's hot). Cook the pasta in the meantime. After the strips have fried, take them off and fry 3 cloves of garlic and one red onion. Not for long as the garlic must not be burned and the red onion must not become soft. Toss in 200g de-seeded San Marzano tomatoes, add the meat and 200g rucola and a generous splash of good balsamico. Finally put in the cooked and drained pasta and toss it all together. Serve with grated parmesan and lots of freshly ground black pepper. (We refrained from the pepper since MK had an appetite for an additional dinner serving. Her young taste buds are not yet set for pepper. She had already had dinner at her grandmothers while we were at the reception. In any event, the dish is delicious on its own.)

T loves pasta, but has to concede that it is not entirely healthy for him. K often suggests to use a whole-grain variety, but this is not possible when the kids are home. Today, we expected to be eating on our own despite the kids being home, so we went for the 50/50 variety, which we can buy at Irma and to this dish it works marvelously adding a nice nutty flavour. For two hungry adults and a not-so hungry 6-year old we use appr. 300g of Penne pasta.

It can be a challenge to cook according to the latest health bulletins and still make everybody happy. In many dishes the whole grain pasta tastes like oat meal and has the texture of sawdust. So we have been looking for pasta that didn't taste too 'healthy' and have come up with this variety from il fornaio. In many dishes we still use the classic white grain variety, but the 50/50 actually adds to some dishes.

To this we select sangiovese, as we often do when having pasta. Today we chose a bottle of Podere 414, Morellino di Scansano from 2008. We found this, when we were in Siena last year and it was a very pleasant surprise then, as it is now (but no surprise). Very well balanced with good acidity and notes of cherry(seed). Not being modest we rate the meal, the wine and the combination as 9/10 on a day where it all worked to near perfection.

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