Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Farfalle with Tomato Crème Fraîche, Broccoli and Crumbled Stilton

     A Modern English Style Pasta!
     Farfalle Pasta translates to Bow Tie Pasta.  Farfalle often gets the first choice by chefs that create daily pasta specials at restaurants, because this pasta looks nice on a plate.  The shape of Farfalle is perfect for cream sauces.  

     Crème Fraîche is half soured creme.  The traditional method of making creme fresh involves leaving an open container of cream sit at room temperature for about 4 hours, then chilling the cream overnight.  Several strains of airborne bacteria cause an enzymic reaction, which reduces the PH level, then the cream begins to naturally sour and thicken.
     Early in my career this was how us chefs made crème fraîche at fine dining restaurants.  Now this practice is illegal by modern health code standards, because the threat of pathogen contamination is high.
     The modern standard for making crème fraîche is a safer method.  In a restaurant or home kitchen this is also the most cost effective method.  Modern crème fraîche can be made by mixing 50% naturally cultured sour cream with 50% fresh cream.  It is as easy as that.

      Tomato brightens the flavor of crème fraîche.  In today's recipe, broccoli lightens the flavor even more.  The lighter flavors make room for the rich flavor of English Stilton Cheese.  English Stilton Cheese is a famous aged sharp bleu cheese.  Stilton has a sharp flavor that is perfect with a tomato crème fraîche sauce.
     When working in a pub, creating a pasta du jour entrée that has a flavors that English customers might like can be tricky to do.  Not everybody in England likes Stilton Cheese, because they have heard about how this cheese was eaten in the 1700's and 1800's.  Stilton was eaten with the little bugs that feed on old cheese.  Casting that imagery aside is difficult for some people to do.  For those that do like Stilton, today's pasta recipe will hit the spot!
     Farfalle with Tomato Crème Fraîche, Broccoli and Crumbled Stilton
     This recipe yields 1 hearty pasta entrée.  
     Just like with classic Italian pasta cooking, the a la minute sauce can be made in the same amount of time as it takes for the pasta to be cooked al dente.
     Step 1:  Cook 1 portion of farfalle pasta in boiling water over high heat, till the farfalle becomes al dente.  The sauce can be made while the pasta cooks!
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1 teaspoon of chopped shallot.
     Sauté till the shallot turns clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 1 tablespoon of imported Italian tomato paste.
     Add 1/4 cup of tomato puree.
     Stir as the tomato sauce comes to a gentle boil.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 cup of milk.
     Add 1 1/4 cups of crème fraîche.  (Mix 1 part cream and 1 part sour cream together to make a quick crème fraîche.)
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of sliced chives.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 4:  Use a whisk to stir the ingredients together.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature low heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of small chopped broccoli florets.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it is a medium thin cream sauce consistency.
  Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.  (Add a splash of milk, if the sauce becomes too thick.)
     Step 6:  *The pasta should be ready by now.  Check to see if the pasta is al dente. 
     Drain the water off of the finished farfalle pasta.
     Add the pasta to the sauce.
     Toss the sauce and pasta together.
     Step 7:  Mound the sauced pasta on a plate.
     Pour any excess sauce over the pasta.
     Step 8:  Sprinkle a generous amount of crumbled Stilton Cheese over the pasta.  (1 1/2 ounces to 2 ounces is plenty.)
     Sprinkle some finely chopped Italian Parsley over the pasta.
     Garnish the pasta with a sprig of Italian Parsley.
     The sharp Stilton Cheese adds a very seductive warm flavor and aroma to this pasta.  By crumbling the Stilton over the pasta instead of simply mixing it into the sauce, the Stilton retains its classic sharp flavor. 

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