It seems like an absolute age since my last venture in the kitchen, but I was delighted when Saturday rolled around. For this turn I decided to make the meal a tribute to my favourite of all the complex carbohydrates; pasta, and because I’m won’t be donning a bikini this year why not?
To start the meal I opted for a small dish. I cooked up and seasoned squid ink pasta, which I arranged in presentation rings. To these I then added a butternut squash and sage puree, and butternut squash pieces. It was a fairly simple and plain starter as I wanted the butternut squash to be the main focus of the dish.
I could have used more of the sage to flavour the sauce, as this was my first time using sage I went rather light touch, fearing it overpowering everything, and everyone. This dish marks the end of my squid ink pasta, as a component I quite enjoy it. I like the interesting colour it brings to dishes, though the texture when cooked is a little different to normal pasta.
For the main I intended to cook, roll and stuff lasagne sheets, a little like an abstract cannelloni. The lasagne sheets I have had for a while, they are beautiful and remind me of summer. I picked them up from Carluccio’s one time after a lunch visit. I’d always planned to do something like this with them so its a shame it didn’t turn out like I wanted, as you can see. I was going to stuff these with a beetroot and feta ix and then top with a feta and garlic sauce, but as it didn’t work I had to present the dish differently.
If I were to do this again, I would use a different pasta. Thinking I could cook lasagne like normal pasta was a mistake, I don’t know if it is because the lasagne is striped, but the sheets fell apart. This meant that I couldn’t serve them rolled and stuffed as I would have hoped, it still looked and tasted nice, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted. I’d definitely keep the feta and garlic sauce though, that I’d have even on its own with pasta.
Hotel Chocolat sell cocoa pasta, which was the perfect way to integrate carbohydrates into the dessert. I topped the cooked pasta with a warm rich chocolate fudge sauce, bought from Fudge Kitchen, as well as chopped hazelnuts. To serve I added fresh raspberries and coulis, I think this dessert looks absolutely beautiful. It was a bit more effort than my usual puddings, but still not too much as aside from cooking the pasta not much needed to be done.
Should I make this dessert again, I’d keep everything almost as it was. The only thing I would change is making the coulis thicker, as it was thin it made it rather difficult to pipe into a design. The coulis also had seeds in which kept blocking up the nozzle which was rather frustrating. Had I of not cheated and bought Raspberry and Vanilla Coulis from Waitrose this wouldn’t t have been a problem.
One thing that I am pleased about is how well I managed to balance the meal. Usually for a three course meal that I cook, I’m left on the verge of uncomfortably full, this time I was happily sated. I think it was a novel idea to have pasta in all three courses, though I might not attempt it again for some time as there are plenty of other ideas I want to try!