Shirley takes us into her kitchen and reveals one of the delights Mr Fiction Ed often cooks
After working all day, sometimes the last thing you’re in the mood for is cooking. And I’m very fortunate that I almost never have to.
Mr Fiction Ed, you see, took early retirement from work some years ago. But far from adopting a life of leisure, he assumed a new role as our Domestic Services Manager. Cooking, cleaning, washing…. He takes care of it all, as well as a burgeoning vegetable plot. Spoiled? Me? Well, maybe….
He’s a super cook, and has a number of signature dishes that he’s just kind of made up. This one, Pasta Pesto, is one of my favourites. He puts his own spin on it with spices as well as the pesto sauce, because we like spicy, garlicky food.
Watching over a shoulder
Last time he made it I stalked him in the kitchen to watch. Here’s how, but I’ve put asterisks next to ingredients that are optional if you don’t like spices.
Things like the onion selection are what we had in the veg rack; you can just use one ordinary one. Likewise chicken or salami instead of ham, or no ham at all. Sometimes we add pine nuts, too. It’s very versatile!
This is what you need to serve 2:
200g tagliatelle – we used fresh
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 salad onion, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or crushed (you can use less!)
Green chilli pepper, optional
3 Mushrooms, sliced, optional
Oil for frying the onions – we used rapeseed oil but any will do
1 pack (100gram) Italian herb ham, chopped
Couple slices any cheese, chopped, or grated Parmesan
Green pesto sauce
*Chilli seasoning: contains chilli, black pepper, sea salt, garlic, ginger, horseradish
And this is what you do:
Sprinkle spices over the chopped ham.
Put on a pan of water to boil for the pasta – we don’t use salt but Italian chefs say you should for flavour.
Fry the shallots, onion, salad onion in the oil till transparent. Add sliced mushrooms and chilli. Continue to fry very gently over low heat and stir while pasta cooks.
Meanwhile put pasta in boiling water – fresh only takes 5 mins; dried will take a minute or two longer – follow pack instructions.
Drain pasta. Put it back in the pot but keep it off the heat. Stir in a teaspoon or two of the pesto sauce, to taste. Stir in the ham, cheese and spices. Then stir in the onions, etc. Stir together, sprinkle over some black pepper and more Parmesan, and serve. Tasty!