Zucchini Linguini with Pancetta and Homemade Ricotta

We don't eat a lot of pasta in the Gourmet Male household but lately I've been contemplating creating a light summer dish with linguini. So when I recently made some homemade ricotta I spotted a perfect opportunity to create a new dish. It's a twist of a couple recipes I've tried in the past but with a few added components that I think make it a knock out meal. And just perfect for summer. It's zucchini linguini with pancetta and homemade ricotta. 

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To make it, you'll need (serves 2):

  • 250g fresh or quality linguini
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 2 slices pancetta
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • handful chopped mint and parsley
  • 4 tbsp homemade ricotta
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt, pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. While the water is heating up, mince the garlic and zest the lemon. I swear by a Microplane, by the way. Grate the zucchini with the large holes on a box grater. It should look like this:

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Crisp the pancetta slices in a grill oven and then chop roughly and set aside. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and also set aside.

Once the water is boiling drop the pasta in and cook for approximately 8 minutes. While the pasta is cooking heat up a small frying pan with the olive oil. Sautee the garlic for a minute and then add the lemon zest and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and fry for about 3 minutes.

Once the pasta is al dente, drain it and reserve a bit of the cooking liquid. Toss in the zucchini mix and 3/4s of the ricotta and mix. Add a bit of the cooking liquid to the pasta and then mix once more. Plate the pasta, adding the cherry tomatoes and pancetta and a little of the ricotta on the side. Serve and enjoy! 

Peaches and Pancetta Salad with Gruyere

Spring has officially sprung in Sydney and today was an opportunity to try out a new salad that is a variation of the one I saw in Heston Blumenthal's Heston at Home. It was a perfect salad to go with a roast chicken and lamb with roasted potatoes.

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The key to this salad is to use the best and freshest ingredients you can find. You'll need:

  • 200g rocket
  • 2 white peaches, cut into 1/8 slices
  • 25g balsamic vinegar
  • 200g pancetta
  • 80g Gruyere cheese, shaved
  • 40g white wine vinegar
  • 40g Dijon mustard
  • 120g olive oil

Preheat the oven to 170C. Mix the mustard, vinegar, and olive oil together, whisking briskly. Then set aside. 

Bake the pancetta slices on baking paper inside a flat pan until crisp, about 10 minutes. Then chop roughly and set aside. Simmer the balsamic in a small pan until it takes on a syrup consistency and then let cool.

Cook the peaches on a hot BBQ for about 5 minutes on each side, achieving attractive grill marks. In a bowl combine the rocket, cheese, chopped pancetta, and peaches. Drizzle the balsamic reduction along the edge of the bowl. Add the dressing and toss. Serve with a nice Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc! 

Truffle, Bone Marrow and Chevre Burgers with Pancetta

The Gourmet Female is going on a diet and I have been on a mission to create a "Death Row" meal for her to commemorate the final day on our normal food regime. Now, a normal person would take the idea of a burger and fries meal and go buy some mince and herbs, buy some nice burger rolls, and possibly buy some frozen chips. Yes, a normal person. But I think we've established that's not me, by any stretch. So I schemed up a burger made with premium mince, truffle salsa, chopped porcinis, and roasted bone marrow. It is to be topped with crisped pancetta, sitting on a layer of chevre cheese, with pickles, mayo, and dijon, on a homemade brioche roll. You heard me, a homemade brioche rolls (and the other stuff). And for giggles I threw in Heston Blumenthal's Triple Cooked Chips. Nothing like spending six hours on a weekend for a burger and fries! But look at this...

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(An aside: I'm writing this outdoors on a gorgeous winter afternoon - the last weekend of winter! And I was so engrossed in writing this that I missed the fact that both of my dogs are digging holes in the backyard - RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Little furry pains in the ass)

I'm pretty proud of this one as it was completely made up in my dreams. So if you do give it a try please let me know what you think.

I'll leave the brioche bun recipe and Heston's chips for another day (those chips are a journey in themselves). So for now just get yourself a couple good burger buns. In addition, what you need is (makes 2 burgers):

  • 220g premium mince
  • 8g rehydrated, chopped porcini mushrooms
  • 1 tsp Tetsuya's Truffle Salsa (or chopped truffles with anchovy)
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 thin slices of dill gherkin
  • mayo
  • dijon mustard
  • 2 round slices of pancetta
  • 3 or 4 marrow bones

Roast the bone marrow as I covered here. Extract the bone marrow into the mince and add the porcinis and truffle salsa. Add a pinch of salt and mix the ingredients well. Separate into two patties and press until firm - I used a canning jar's lid to give the burger a great shape.

Turn on your oven to the grill setting and chuck in the pancetta slices on a pan for four minutes, or until nice and crispy. Remove and set aside.

Now, I was tempted to try my new "ghetto" sous vide eskie but these were just too precious to risk so I pan fried them. That's about 4 - 5 minutes a side (DON'T press them), which is pretty simple. While they are frying spread the chevre on the bottom of your burger bun (you can toast the bun if you wish beforehand) and add a thin layer of mayo and dijon to the top of the bun. Lay the two gherkin slices to the top as well. 

Once your burger is done cooking assemble the masterpiece and serve! I have to say, this was one of the best burgers I've ever tasted. And it all cost less than one of the burgers from all those new "gourmet" shops springing up everywhere. Gents, this is one to wow family and friends.

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