Thursday, 16 February 2012

Linguine with pesto & poached egg yolk


Linguine, 1 egg, basil, basil oil, pine nuts, parmigiano, lemon juice, garlic
Serves: 2 Preparation: 10 minutes

In Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals, I once heard him say that it was perfectly acceptable not to make your own pesto, that the stuff in a jar was no different. Now I expect that kind of laziness from the gorgeous Nigella, but from Jamie? Not so much. And excuse me, a humble cook for daring to contradict a celebrated chef but he's wrong. Dead wrong. Wrong in the head if he believes that. There will never be anything like fresh pesto. Grinding the basil into the pine nuts releases a sweet perfume, further enhanced with notes of citrus which is then brought down to earth with the earthiness of the garlic and tang of parmeggian. As the kitchen fills with the scent I become giddy with the anticipation of it, and it's short lived because it's so quick and simple to make. Don't buy it, celebrate it.

1) Add the linguine to hot, salted water and bring to the boil for about 8 minutes.

2) To make the pesto - add a good handful of fresh basil leaves to a mortar bowl and grind to a fine pulp. Sautee 1 crushed clove of garlic in basil oil and add to the mortar bowl along with a pinch of salt and a handful of pine nuts. Grind thoroughly, adding lemon juice, basil oil and parmeggian to taste.

2) Strain the linguine from the water (don't discard) and add the pasta to the pesto. Toss, adding extra pine nuts until it is coated in pesto.

3) Using the remaining boiling water, drop in an egg yolk for about 30 seconds and then remove with a teaspoon, transferring it to sit on the pasta.

Break the egg yolk immediately and stir the creaminess through your pasta. Heaven... and far less than 30 minutes Jamie *winks*

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