Friday, 27 January 2017

Italian Fiorelli Pasta with Fennel and Green Peppers

This Pasta with Fennel and Green Peppers is one I made many years back.  The recipe comes from on of my all-time favourite vegetarian chefs Denis Cotter owner of the best vegetarian restaurant Cafe Paradiso in Ireland, as well as its chef and co-founder.  Denis Cotter was one of the first to deliver contemporary style of vegetarian cuisine. There were not many innovative vegetarian or vegan cookbooks in the mid 1990s found in this part of the English speaking world. I really admire him, unlike other vegetarian and vegan chefs (that came after), he has never ever sought the limelight and has always been humble and modest. never looking for the Michelin Stars or Rosette recognition (although why not, Cafe Paradiso and his team truly deserves that accolade for what its worth). He for me redefined non-meat based cuisine by experimenting with original flavours, brilliant culinary improvisations and modern techniques at the time.  You can see Deni Cotters influences in the way many vegetarian chefs that came after (whether they admit it or not), have been inspired by him or have used many of his recipes as a springboard for their own.  I do sometimes think some people have very short memories as they forget original stars and voices of vegetarian and vegan cuisine in favour of those that crave the limelight and pretend that they have created something original, for example vegetables in cakes, people have you never heard of carrot cake!  

His book 'Paradiso Seasons was named as the best vegetarian cookbook in the world at the Gourmand World Cookbook Fair in 2004. Denis Cotter creates restaurant quality food that I truly want to eat. He is a big influence on the way I cook, he is vegetarian icon and a vegetarian hero of mine, especially when I want to create something a bit more avante garde  or honest and down to earth in my own kitchen, but never pretentious. 
I am patiently waiting for another brilliant and original cookbook from him.  ; and to visit Cafe Paradiso in Cork, Ireland remains on my wish list.  Dear Husband I hope you are reading this, if not I know you already know...

After all that high praise for Denis Cotter, i have to admit for quickness, I have cut lots of corners for this recipe.  For a start, he roasts the garlic in oil until it is tender, soft and sweet and can easily be popped out of its skin.  The garlic enhances fresh parsley and olive oil which forms part of the pasta sauce and much more.  

My Pasta with Fennel and Green Peppers is made with Fiorelli from M&S.  Its described as authentic Italian pasta made and air dried in the Italian Alps, using select Italian wheat and a bronze dye for a rough texture that picks up every drop of sauce.  The fiorelli* shaped pasta is supposed to resemble flower buds.  I loved the intense flavour combination in the final dish, lots of layers of flavours, from the garlic, the parsley, the peppers, the fennel and then piquancy from the sun dried tomatoes and black peppers and the pasta acted as a brilliant foil to hold all those flavours. 

This is my second  contribution to Food 'N' Flix this month  hosted at All Roads Lead To The Kitchen.  The movie chosen this month was French Kiss with Kevin Kline and the infectious Meg Ryan.   
I was fortunate to find the movie on youtube and watched it on a day when I was off work.  Less than 10 minutes into the movie I spotted some fresh vegetables in the kitchen on the table including tomatoes, carrots, fennel and a bowl of mushrooms I think.  This is just before the character Kate receives a phone call from her fiancee Charlie breaking up with her as he has fallen in love with someone he has met in Paris. The feathery fennel inspired me to make this pasta salad.  I am also sharing this Pasta Salad with Soups, Salads and Sammies hosted by Kahakai Kitchen and finally  Healthy Vegan Fridays hosted by Rock My Vegan Socks and V Nutrition

Here is a link to Denis Cotters vegetarian cookbooks, many of which have vegan recipes.
Here are some other Denis Cotter inspired recipes on A2K- A Seasonal Veg Table
Aubergine, Black Eyed Peas Coconut Pot
Aubergine aka Eggplant Tomato Relish Pasta
Pumpkin, Black Beans and Leeks
Turnip Swede Curry
Balsamic Roasted Beetroot Dyed Pasta
Wild Garlic Past and Pesto
Roasted Runner Beans and Couscous
Jerusalem Artichoke Risotto 

In this blog post called Peeking Through Snowy Windows in 2010,  I wrote about 3 of my favourite chefs celebrating vegetables and Denis Cotter was named then and would still be today. 

*Here is a guide from the BBC of pasta shapes of Italy

Italian Fiorelli with Fennel and Green Peppers

Serves 3 - 4
Ingredients
250g Fiorelli Pasta, or other pasta shape.  
Cook according to packet instructions, drain and set aside

1 fennel, sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 green pepper, sliced
12 black olives
2 tablespoons sun dried tomato, sliced
Fresh parsley, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Method
In a wide pan, heat the oil and then stir in the fennel and cook for five minutes, then stir in the garlic and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. then stir in the olives and sun dried tomatoes for a minute, then stir in the pasta, parsley and season to taste
Adapted from Denis Cotters The Cafe Paradiso Cookbook

30 comments:

  1. This seriously is making my mouth water right now Shaheen! I'm not feeling great today and I think a big bowl of this would hit the spot. I wonder if I could talk my husband into making it for me...we'll see. If not, I'm saving it for another day!

    Thanks so much for linking up with us for Healthy Vegan Fridays! I’m Pinning and sharing!

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  2. Thank you Mary Ellen, its good warm or cold!
    I am sorry you are not feeling good today, there are some serious bugs around. I managed to fend the bugs, but my husband has been poorly that past week and the w/e will be a quiet and homely one while he recovers, so I do hope your recover sooner than later. Fingers crossed, that your husband gives the recipe a go, if not - there is always next time.

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  3. This looks so good and fennel again, mmmhhh would love to eat this now!

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    1. Thanks VegHog. I have another fennel recipe that I want to make, but its more of a summer dish, so I will postpone and share that some other time.

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  4. This looks great - and different to the tomato-based pastas I generally make so very handy for variety.

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    1. It really is lovely, the fennel just adds something that you don't get with other vegetables.

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  5. Another delicious use for fennel - I love how green and fresh this pasta looks!

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  6. Such a green and gorgeous pasta salad! Fennel is one of my favorite ingredients. I could eat it every day. Thanks for sharing your salad with Souper Sundays this week too.

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    1. Thank you Deb. It is indeed versatile, i know that it is also used in some sweet dishes too.

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  7. This sounds really good! I love fennel and think that your recipe sounds divine!

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  8. Nice dish. I watched it on YouTube as well and had to translate the French parts through mannerisms. :)

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  9. High praise indeed - now I know where I need to go if I'm in Cork! I like that this looks simple to make, and simply delicious too!

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    1. thanks Joey, there are lot more sophisticated dishes in his cookbooks with lots of processes and components, but you know us home cooks we hone in on the simpler ones. I look forward to going one day to try this elevated vegetable cuisine

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  10. Wow....two wonderful entries for this month...I'm impressed

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    1. Thank you so much Wendy - still with fennel though.

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    1. Thank you so much Amy , hope your well.

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  12. This looks so good! I can't eat the peppers, but I'm willing to bet it would just taste as good without them!

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    1. Thank you so much, yes - you can def. omit the peppers and it would still taste good.

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  13. I think this would be delicious sitting outside in the warm spring with a glass of Pinot Grigio. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you so much Terri, yes i agree - a glass of Pinot Grigio, but i have to confess I am more of red wine kind of woman.

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  14. Oh I loved hearing of a chef that has inspired you. He sounds amazing. And it's refreshing that he does what he does for the love of food and not for attention and fame. It sounds like he tries interesting things, I bet his cookbook is good. This pasta sounds super delicious! Of course I would have never considered putting fennel in pasta, but the way you do it sounds delicious.
    And I love the movie French Kiss. I actually remember going to theatres to see it when it first came out a long time ago ;)

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    1. Thanks Kimmy.
      I was at one time thinking about going over and doing summer work at his cafe but it sadly never happened. It would have been a great opp. This is a lovely pasta.

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