Friday, 21 March 2008

Festive Fusilli

The last time I made Nigella's Festive Fusilli was very soon after I bought Nigella Express, but I remember that we all liked it. At the time I didn't have vodka so I had to do something strange with rum essence and tomato paste to get a nice flavour.

This time I did have some vodka, and I was really surprised at how much depth it added to the flavour. Really really surprised. It was good. Again, I didn't have any semi-dried or sunblush tomatoes, so I used diced. I also pan fried a little pancetta and sprinkled it over the top.

It's a very rich dish, but oh so good.

Festive Fusilli
from 'Nigella Express' by Nigella Lawson

You can think of this either as a soakingup end-of-party meal for the hard core who managed to stay the course, or as a festive but unfussy supper you can get together quickly after some seasonal gettogether or outing.

Should you be lucky enough to have any left over, this is a superb post-party breakfast forked straight from a container in the fridge.

And by 'sunblush' tomatoes, I mean those ones that are halfway between fresh and dried and come soaked in a seasoned oil in deli-counters.

1kg fusilli or other short pasta of your choice
600g sunblush tomatoes in seasoned oil
80ml vodka
2 tsp Maldon salt or 1 tsp table salt
2 tsp sugar
250g mascarpone
40g (2 x 20g packets) curly parsley, chopped
Flaked Parmesan to serve

1 Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

2 Take about 150g of the sunblush tomatoes and chop them finely. I use my mezzaluna here, as you can really mulch them.

3 Put the chopped tomatoes into a bowl with the remaining tomatoes, along with the vodka, salt and sugar. Leave to steep while you cook the fusilli.

4 Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, then drain and put back in the pan with the mascarpone, mixing well over low to medium heat.

5 Tip the steeped tomato mixture and half the chopped parsley into the pan, mixing well.

6 Pour into a bowl and sprinkle with Parmesan flakes and the remaining parsley.

Serves 10-12

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