Friday, 1 November 2013

Parsnip and bacon pasta

I was asked on Twitter if I'd posted this recipe ever. And whilst I was sure I had - some googling and checking of tags informs me that I haven't. Which is odd, as soon as parsnips come into season (usually after the first frost) it pops up on our menu. it's a quick and easy dish to make, and if you have parsnips arrive in a veg box, and lingering in the veg tray of the fridge it's a great way to use them up.

I'm not sure how, or why this works - the sweetness of the parsnips that start to caramelise seems to meld with the melted parmesan and the garlic just sort of lingers in the background. You could use a shedload of herbs to give this more oomph, but I have to say that this is how I prefer it. If I had herbs in the garden (next year hopefully) then I would probably add them, but I'm not buying those piddly packs from the supermarket in order to tart this up. I have plenty of other places that 90p could be spent.

Parsnip and bacon pasta

Butter - a fair bit, I'd say about 50g
Garlic - to your taste, I normally use 3 cloves
4 biggish parsnips
1 pack of smoked bacon, snipped into strips
About half a pack of parmesan (you know the pre-packed triangles you can buy.) If you're a veggie, Sainsbury's Basics hard cheese is veggie friendly as I know parmesan isn't
I don't add salt to this because of the salt in the cheese and bacon, but it's entirely up to you
Pasta - normal portion size is fine. We tend to use fusili or penne, but that's just personal preference. I think this would be nice with taglietele but again, I wouldn't buy special pasta for a mid week supper.

Put the water for your pasta on to boil - the sauce takes about 10 minutes to cook so you probably want to start cooking the bacon now, and the rest as the pasta goes in
Snip the bacon into strips and cook in a frying pan. You want the fat to start to render down so that you're just left with the crispy bits. If you're watching your weight, then just cut the fat off and add the bacon in with the rest of the ingredients
Peel the parsnips. Then with your veg peeler, continue to peel them in strips until you just have the core left. I don't use this in this recipe but save it to add to soup.
Pop your garlic in your press to squish, or finely chop
Grate the cheese
Add about half the butter to a biggish pan (the one you've got the bacon in if you've already started) Let this melt down, then add your parsnips. Stir so that the parsnips are all mixed in with the butter and bacon and turn the heat down so that this continues to cook gently
Once your pasta is cooked, dunk a ladle or mug into the pasta water (you want about half a mugful) and pour that into your frying pan
Drain your pasta and add that to the frying pan, along with the rest of the butter and cheese. Stir again so the cheese melts
Season with pepper to taste and serve in bowls

I hope you enjoy, as I say it's a bit of a staple for us, and a nice different way to use up those parsnips.

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