Sunday, 30 December 2012

Chorizo, kale and mushroom pasta

After a Christmas comprised of sheer gluttony and wild food adandon, my thoughts have turned, true girl style, to my waist and those flabby bits that have appeared on my upper arms, which are commonly known as 'bingo wings' - with that in mind my post Christmas eating has become somewhat restrained, hence the inspiration for the following recipe.

Packed with kale and mushrooms it's full of much needed nutrients like essential B vitamins, which, coupled with the garlic/onions are great for your immune and circulatory system (both which could do with a massive boost at this time of year); the wholewheat pasta keeps you fuller for longer and contains fibre to 'ahem' deal with the meat overload that's rotting in your gut and the sprinkling of chorizo/parmesan adds extra flavour and a feeling of indulgence without too many extra calories/sat fats - but if you're being super keen, just leave these last two out.

I'm using mafalda corta as the pasta here - it's not the best for this type of dish, but a) I had it in and b) I really like how it looks/feels - the philosophy behind this restrained eating is to make it as pleasurable as possible, so you don't feel like you're cutting back (when you most certainly are). In this recipe use the very best you can afford, therefore packing a full flavoured punch to keep your mid-winter post-Christmas-restraint-blues eating interesting.

Chorizo, kale and mushroom pasta

serves two - prep five min - cooking 15 min




Ingredients

 - 75g chorizo (not cooking chorizo though you can use it here if you prefer), cubed - try and find an iberico bellota ring, it's more expensive, but tastes much better and the meat is much higher quality
 - 1 small onion, finely diced
 - 150g wholewheat pasta, I used mafalda corta, but feel free to use any wholewheat pasta you like - I would say use a good quality brand like Napolina as some basic lines of wholewheat pasta are very worthy/soggy/awful
 - 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
 - 1 pack of cavolo nero (about 150g), rinsed - can use normal kale, but cavolo has a better flavour/texture
 - 2 portobello/large chestnut mushrooms, sliced
 - extra virgin olive oil
 - sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
 - parmesan, to garnish
 - cooking olive oil as/if needed



Method

1. Put a frying pan on a medium heat and immediately add the chopped chorizo - adding it to a cold pan and letting it heat up with the it will cause the paprika spiced oils to melt out in to the pan, adding loads of flavour. Put a full kettle on to boil.

2. Once the oil has come out a little, add the onions and cook until soft. After a three minutes or so, add the garlic and keep stirring every now and again to stop the onions/garlic catching - you may need to add a splash of cooking olive oil if not much is coming out of your chorizo (it's a natural product, so each one varies). Whilst the onions and garlic are softening, put the boiled water in a large pan and add a generous pinch of salt.

3. As the water reaches a rolling boil (ie very fast and bubbly), add the pasta and stir to stop it sticking on the bottom - make sure you keep the pasta on a fast boil and stir every now and again. Cook to the packet instructions, but a minute or two before the end of the cooking time, test to see how done it is - you want it al dente (slight bite).

4. Whilst the pasta is cooking, cut the mid-ribs out of the cavelo nero and slice finely - add these to the frying pan. Keep stirring to stop the onions/garlic sticking. Cut the leafy bits of the kale in to fine ribbons and set aside.

5. After a minute, add the mushrooms to the frying pan - mushrooms absorb all the tasty juices, but also make the pan very dry when they are first added, so you may need another splash of cooking olive oil, just to stop the onions/garlic catching.

6. In the last three minutes of the pasta cooking, add the reserved kale leaves to the pasta water and cook with the pasta.

7. Drain the pasta/kale in a colander and add back to the cooking pan (minus the water). Keep the pan off the heat and dress the pasta with a sprinkle of sea salt, a good grinding of pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Add the contents of the frying pan and stir through the pasta.

8. Divide between two bowls, check the seasoning and grate over some parmesan - if you use a fine microplane, you'll use a lot less cheese and it will be more of a seasoning than a fattening additive (which is the idea here).

9. Enjoy your healthy food, without cutting back on taste or essential nutrients. Bon appetit.

Ps The meat and cheese in this recipe are merely seasonings and not the main components of the dish, so if the amount of these looks small in relation to the pasta/veg, that's how it's meant to look!

NB this recipe is also on the cheap side, great for restrained wallets as well as restrained diets.