Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pasta with Saffron, Celery, Capers and Raisins

I have bookmarked this recipe quite a while ago. The combination of ingredients seemed intriguing to me. I can imagine that this dish is not everyone's cup of tea, but I liked it a lot. It's an interesting combination of sweet, salty and sour flavours. It's easy to make and good both hot or cold, as a pasta salad. I like it served with pecorino cheese.

(from: here)

6 stalks celery (around 180g)
90ml olive oil
30g pine nuts
40g capers, plus 2 tbsp of their brine
10 large green olives (40g), pitted and cut into 1cm dice
1 good pinch saffron, mixed with 1 tbsp hot water
1½ tsp white-wine vinegar
100g raisins, soaked in water
250g pasta
30g chopped parsley
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated parmesan (or pecorino), optional

Trim any leaves from the celery (save them for later) and cut the stalks into 1cm dices. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the diced celery and pine nuts. Over high heat, fry, stirring all the while, for a minute or two until the nuts begin to brown (take care as they can easily burn). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the capers and their brine, the olives, saffron and its water, the vinegar and the drained raisins. Set aside.

Cook the pasta until al dente, drain into a colander and shake well. Tip the pasta into the pan, place over medium high heat and, stirring gently, quickly heat through. Once hot, stir in the parsley, lemon zest, garlic and lots of black pepper. Taste and add salt if needed.

Transfer to serving plates or bowls, scatter the reserved celery leaves on top and finish with a little cheese, if you like.

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