We’ve enjoyed some mild weather recently, which has also translated into a welcome change to lighter menus in the Bistro kitchen. After a really long winter this year, we’ve been more than happy to give up on stews that have simmered for ages, and make way for dishes that are part way between a cooked meal and a salad.
Pasta fits this description very well, and it’s really easy to pair with the crispy green veggies in season at the moment. We have also become re-acquainted with the wonderful texture of spaghetti, which tends to be a better choice for spring and summer dishes where there isn’t a lot of rich sauce to be enveloped into all the nooks and crannies of shell or ribbed style pasta.
In keeping with our whole grain experiment, today’s dish features kamut spaghetti. Kamut (pronounced ka-moot) is an ancient grain closely related to durum wheat. It is believed to have originated thousands of years ago in the Middle East, hence its name which is the ancient Egyptian word for “wheat”. Dried Kamut pasta has a lovely golden brown colour which, unfortunately, isn’t maintained during the cooking process, so expect your finished dish to be only slightly darker than regular durum wheat pasta.
The wonderful nutty flavour provides the perfect accompaniment to the crisp greens, earthy pine nuts and zingy lemon juice in this dish.
Kamut Spaghetti with Asparagus, Cavolo Nero and Pine Nuts
400 g dried Kamut spaghetti
1 small bunch spring onions, chopped
1 small bunch cavolo nero, well rinsed, tough stems removed, coarsely shredded
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed, cut into 2 cm pieces
1 long red chilli, seeded, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of one large lemon
100 g goats cheese
50 g Parmesan, finely grated
2 – 3 tbsp mixed herbs (we used parsley, oregano and thyme)
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions and your own texture preferences. Drain and set aside.
In the mean time, heat the olive oil into a wide saucepan, then add the chopped spring onions, chilli and garlic and cook for a few minute, until they begin to soften. Add the lemon juice, Cavolo nero and asparagus and cooking on gentle heat until they turn bright green (approximately 5 minutes). If using very fresh and tender seasonal asparagus, there is no need to cook it for very long. Similarly with Cavolo nero, you will find that cooking it for any longer than a few minutes will make it turn an unappealing shade of green and give off a rather unpleasant smell.
Remove from heat, add the cooked pasta to the pan, and toss to combine.
Mix the goats cheese, parmesan and chopped herbs, then toss through the pasta. Serves 4.