As part of my daily schedule, I try dedicating some time to blog hopping, reading books, learning, socializing and getting inspired. In between all this, cooking techniques and recipes get pinned and bookmarked, to be prepared later in my kitchen. While some of these get implemented almost right away, others sit quietly in some corner of my tiny brain until they get remembered and relished!
One fine afternoon when I had lost my mojo and was cracking my head to come up with something more interesting for dinner, a burnt pasta dish that I had once viewed in Cooking Channel suddenly hit my thoughts. In this particular episode, the gorgeous Laura Calder was travelling in France exploring traditional recipes and in one such location, there was this local chef who prepared burned pasta. Not really sure why was it called burned but Laura mentioned it to be more like toasted pasta.
Call it Beurre noisette or brown butter, it is one of those easy secret ingredients that can make any simple daily meal exotic and gourmet, flavorful and uplifting. I chose to use vermicelli instead of pasta and the result was fantastic. It was nutty, crispy and the color was strikingly dazzling. Browning butter is an art. Although it doesn’t need a lot of effort, it sure does need a lot of attention. A little distraction and brown butter could turn to black burnt butter and that’s no good.
After a little bit of chopping and sautéing, the meal was ready in almost no time. The sausage made the meal more filling and if you are a vegetarian, try using sautéed paneer cubes or fried tofu. It’s one of those everyday kinda meals that don’t require any extra preparation time. At the end, grate some Parmesan cheese and serve it while it’s still warm.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups vermicelli
- 1-3/4 cup water
- 3 to 4 sausages, sliced to bite size
- 2 to 3 jalapeños, sliced to bite size
- 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- handful of baby spinach
- 1 cube bouillon
- 1/2 tablespoon chili flakes
- finely chopped parsley or cilantro to add later for garnish
- In a wok on a deep pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter and sauté the sausages along with garlic for about 2 minutes. Add the jalapeños and sauté for a minute. Take it out in a bowl and keep it aside to be used later.
- In the same pan, keeping the heat to medium, add 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl until the foam is almost gone and butter is slightly brown in color. Crush the bouillon with hand, add it to the butter and give it a mix.
- Add vermicelli and keep stirring in medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes, until it turns golden brown in color. Keep an eye and do not divert your attention as it can get burnt very quickly.
- Add spinach, a pinch of salt, chili flakes, pepper and continue cooking for about a minute.
- Pour water and cover the pan. Let it simmer until the water in completely absorbed.
- Fluff it with a fork and add the sautéed sausages and jalapeños that were kept aside.
- Give it a mix, check for salt and add if required. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.
- Serve warm with some grated parmesan cheese on top.
- Since bouillon usually has salt, be careful not to add any extra salt. Make sure you taste before you add any.
- Vermicelli could be substituted with angel hair pasta and sausages could be replaced with pan fried paneer or pan fried tofu.
This is not how I normally prepare vermicelli but it was nice for a change and Arvind loved it. Enough reason for me to mention it in my blog and share it with you. Something tells me that for a while, this is how we would be enjoying our vermicelli.