Well, it's been a wild week. Politics, weather, Stephanie's biathlon, family illness ... and earthquakes. Fortunately, this week's recipe was quick, easy and surprisingly delightful.
I have to admit it wasn't a recipe I would have read and decided to make. Fruit, nuts and pasta don't naturally pop into my mind for a combination. The recipe uses the main ingredients of Mendiant, a French chocolate confection, for inspiration. I made Mendiants at Le Cordon Bleu, and again at the French Culinary Institutes's Chocolate class. A Mediant is a disk of tempered chocolate about the size of a quarter topped with a pistachio, a dried cherry or other dried fruit, and an almond or hazelnut. The disk it to look the medallion a nun would wear. The confection is simple and delicious. Beggar's Linguine uses the same ingredients but uses pasta rather than chocolate. Browned butter adds a nutty and background for the pasta.
The ingredients are very simple. pasta, butter, dried fruits and nuts. I substituted dates for figs, and raisins for golden raisins. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as written. (Be sure to pick up a copy of the book if you haven't already.)
Two ingredients in the recipe are favorites. Browned butter and chives. I love making browned butter. I love the smell, the technique, and the taste. This was no exception. The recipe puts the nut and fruit into the butter early in the browning process. My instincts were to wait, but I added them as directed. In retrospect, I should have waited just a little more. The fruit ended up caramelizing a little bit and appeared, but didnt' taste, a little too dark. Garnishing with fresh chives, orange zest, and fresh Parmesan made the dish complete.
Beggar's Linguine would be a great accompaniment for grilled lobster or pork tenderloin. We enjoyed the dish. I'm planning to try it again, waiting until the butter is brown to add the fruits. I'd also add a little more chive and orange zest.
If you're looking for a dish that's interesting, rich and unique, give Beggar's Linguine a try.
Next week... Salted Butter Breakups!