I'm new to these forums, so kindly forgive me if i've got the wrong area for this.
Basically i have a recipe that has evolved over a number of years from a student food to something that i honestly can't get enough of ... one of those dishes that it's easy to make too much of, but you rarely have any left ;) I like to call it Pasta e Pesto con Fuoco (pasta and pesto with fire ... Italians please forgive any mis-translation, my italian is non-existent). I'm curious to see what people might think of it, be they professional chefs or just fellow enthusiastic cooks. I want to make it clear that i only have culinary training insofar as what my mother taught me, so please be gentle if you don't like it.
It's somewhat of a fusion food, incorperating mexican ingredients into a variation on that most wonderfull of student foods: pesto pasta. It came about as a result of me continually using up random odds and ends that typically abound in any shared student kitchen by just whacking them in pesto pasta. There were a great many Frankenstein monsters created, but over 6 years at uni i have found a combination that makes it soooooooo moreish. Anyway, the recipe:
[These amounts for a portion for 1]
Good handfull of pasta (dried; have made it with fresh home-made though and it tastes even better)
Generous spoonfull of green basil pesto (never tried making my own)
4 whole sundried tomatos (i get them in oil)
4-6 button mushrooms
~1.5 inches chorizo sausage (fine cut is definitely best for this)
1 clove garlic
Salt (i use garlic salt)
1. Get the pasta boiling in some salted water. I find that by the time you've done everything else the pasta is usually nicely al dente.
2. Slice chorizo into ~5mm slices (remove skin first) then chop chorizo slices and mushrooms into quarters. Chop the sundried tomatoes finely (i use a pizza cutter for this, i find it much easier than trying to chop a mushy oily mound with a knife). Chop the garlic to your personal preference.
3. Heat a little olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the chorizo, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes, and fry on a medium-low heat for about 5 mins. Add the garlic at some point depending on how finely it's chopped and how cooked you like it.
4. Whilst this is frying, put the pesto into your serving bowl and add a good splash of balsamic vinegar (about a tablespoon-ish). Add some cayenne pepper (about a teaspoon) and mix together. Season to taste with salt and more cayenne if necessary (you want to slightly under-season as the chorizo will add a little saltiness and heat).
5. By this point the chorizo should have darkened slightly and the mushrooms gone nicely soft. If there is excessive oil in the pan (the chorizo and sundried tomatos may add a significant amount), drain some of this off, then empty the pan into the pesto mixture. Mix well.
6. The pasta should be about done by now, drain and add it to the pesto mixture. Mix well, and EAT. Grated parmesan on top is very tasty if you're feeling decadent.
If anyone does decide to try this, and i would highly recommend you do if you like the sound of it, it's important to get the balance between the cayenne, balsamic and pesto right. I love it because the pesto provides a sort of mellow MSG-ee base, the balsamic sharpens it up and adds sweetness, and the heat from the cayenne cuts the sweetness and marries it to the chorizo. The other ingredients add other bursts of flavour and texture. However my palette is far from sophistocated, thats why i want your opinion :)
You can add all kinds of stuff to this, whatever you have lying around. In the past i have tried it with ketchup, frankfurter (actually works very well), sweetcorn, prawns, carrot, various italian sausages, various types of chili, onion (i don't quite know why but onion REALLY doesn't work in this, i wouldnt recommend trying it) and many others, with varying degrees of success. However i keep coming back to this recipe because nothing i have found so far improves the taste.
Anyway, please do try it, and please do leave comments. Criticism and suggestions will be welcomed, but do try to keep it constructive :P
Best regards too all,