I believe this is the first time in many years of recipe testing that I’ve actually doubled a recipe so that we had enough of it to feed us both.
I bought fresh pappardelle from a local pasta shop where you can buy fresh pasta in bulk every day. I really appreciate this because I can buy what I need and not have small batches of various leftovers from pre-packaged pasta that usually comes in one of two sizes, 10-ounce packs or 1-pound packs. However, it is not a problem to eat a little more or less pappardelle with this recipe, as you can always adjust the sauce ingredients a little.
There were two components in this recipe that I wasn’t sure about and actually wish I could change. Since this was a test recipe, I exercised some self-restraint and proceeded, confining myself to the recipe as written.
For the parsley, I only used the leaves of the plant. While with cilantro I use both the stalks and leaves, with parsley I always thought the stalks were tough and have never broken them up and used them like you do here. The stalks were a nice addition to the sauce and I liked the idea of using something that would have just ended up in the compost bin.
The other ingredient I quietly wanted to change was to leave the fennel seeds whole. I’m very fond of fennel seeds, but have always toasted them in a small cast-iron skillet and then ground them. If you left them whole, they didn’t get stuck in your teeth, but ended up being little flavor notes.
In both cases I learned a new technique, I liked the results of both and will use both again.
We served a Napa Valley Zinfandel for dinner, so I actually used 1/3c of this dry Zinfandel for my red wine in the bowl.
I went to four stores looking for tomato passata, including two stores where I bought jars of them. I couldn’t find them, but they are very easy to make, you don’t even have to look for them. I have drained cans of diced tomatoes, placed the drained tomatoes in the food processor and mashed them until it got a nice chunky sauce.
The finished dish results in a comforting bistro-style pasta bowl. It was very easy to put together and I can see myself making it again, especially when I have a bunch of parsley that I’d like to find a use for. We enjoyed a green salad with thinly sliced purple onions and diced turnips with this dish.