Pasta Primavera followed by Fried Mozzarella

Pasta alla Primavera, which Italians often call greengrocer’s pasta (pasta all’ortolano) is extremely refreshing and very nice in the summer months. It’s also quite good over fried mozzarella, which is much lighter than you might think. In this case, if you want to enjoy everything at once, you’ll have to centrifuge your sliced mozzarella briefly, or slice it and leave it to drain in a strainer in the fridge for several hours.

To serve 4 you’ll need:

For the first course:

  • 2 meaty bell peppers of the color you prefer.
  • A large white onion
  • A clove of garlic, finely sliced
  • A salted anchovy, rinsed, boned, and diced
  • 2/3 pound (300 g) broccoli florets, broken up
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces (320 g) mezze maniche or ziti
  • Freshly grated pecorino romano

For the second course:

  • 6 small (1 1/2 inch, or 4 cm diameter) mozzarella balls
  • An egg, lightly beaten
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Oil for frying
  • Party sticks

Begin by slicing your mozzarella balls in half and setting them to drain in a strainer for 2 hours. If you don’t have 2 hours, use a salad centrifuge, giving the pieces a quick spin, turning them, and spinning them again. In either case, dredge the slices in the beaten egg, then in the breadcrumbs, put them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, and chill them in the freezer for a half hour.

In the meantime, set pasta water to boil.

Stem, seed, and rib the peppers and cut them into strips that will lie flat. Run them under the broiler, skin side up, until the skins have blistered; you may have to turn the strips to blister the skins evenly. When the skins have blistered and blackened, put the strips in a bowl and cover it to let the steam generated by the cooking further loosen the skins. After a few minutes remove the skins, running the strips under warm water to rinse them clean, pat them dry, and dice them.

Peel the onion, slice it finely, and sauté it with the garlic in the olive oil; when it’s translucent add the peppers and the anchovy and simmer over a low flame for about 15 minutes. By this time the pasta water should be boiling; salt it and blanch the broccoli florets for 2-3 minutes; remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the pepper sauce.

Continue simmering the sauce while you cook the pasta, and set the oil in your deep fryer to heating. When the pasta is al dente, drain it, and return it to the pot with about half the sauce; cook, stirring, over high heat for a minute and serve the sauced pasta with grated pecorino romano on the side.

When it comes time to clear the pasta bowls from the table, fry the mozzarella disks for about a minute in hot oil. Arrange them on a serving dish, stick a party stick into each, and distribute the remaining sauce over them. Serve with a tossed salad, crusty bread, and a brisk white wine, for example Gavi.

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Categories: Cheese And Cheese Based Dishes, Green Sauces for Pasta

Author:Cosa Bolle in Pentola

Italy boasts an astonishing number of varietals, denominations, and wines, and tremendous changes are sweeping the land. New wines are being created, new DOCs are being introduced, and the existing denominations are overhauling their regulations both to reflect the practices adopted by their member wineries and to favor improvements in quality. Even the most staid and stolid region can flower seemingly overnight, emerging with exciting new wines and wineries that require rewriting the enological maps and rethinking one's positions. And, of course, recipes too, because cuisine and wine are closely intertwined and it's difficult to imagine one without the other.

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