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Fusilli with Steamed Green Vegetables, Nuts and Blue Cheese
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More thrown-together triumphs...
If the cupboard is really bare, toss freshly cooked spaghetti with olive oil that you've warmed for a few minutes with some chopped chilli and garlic (they should infuse, not cook). You can then add what's to hand - curls of lemon zest, chopped herbs or olives, rocket or lightly roasted tomatoes. Brown butter is a classic accompaniment to pasta: simply melt in a pan and bubble gently until golden brown.
To this, you can add toasted pine nuts, capers, some fresh, shredded sage or whatever else takes your fancy.
Soak dried wild mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes then drain, chop and sauté with onions and garlic until soft. Toss with piping hot orecchiette, chopped fresh thyme and grated pecorino.
For a really quick, cheesy sauce, melt a little butter in a saucepan, add some cubed blue cheese, a grated hard cheese, such as parmesan, pecorino or mature Cheddar, and a scoop of soft cheese: cream cheese, mascarpone or a soft goat's cheese. Stir until melted, and toss with penne or tagliatelle. Serve with green salad.
This recipe was first published in April 2002.