Why I Love Jamie Oliver, Installment 3

So, as has been documented earlier, I not-so-recently-anymore developed quite the fondness for Jamie Oliver (the date of experimentation with this particular recipe is May 29, 2010). After the revelations that were Cheat’s Home-made Pappardelle and the risotto with mint in it I was more eager than apprehensive to try another J.O. recipe. This time it was Parsnip and Pancetta Tagliatelle with Parmesan and Butter. I tried to keep with the whole “trying something new” theme – I wasn’t all that familiar with parsnips. Really, I’m not sure I’d ever had a parsnip before that night. I already knew I loved pancetta and having a giant rosemary bush (this is listed as an herb for the dish) in my front yard I’m definitely no stranger to – or hater – of the woodsy herb. Combining the comforting and familiar with the unknown. Really, I don’t have much to say about this dish – other than it was abso-freaking-lutely fantastic and I’ve fantasized about it ever since I ate it. Oddly, I’ve yet to make it again. I’m thinking my grandma might be part of the next recreation of this dish, as she’s new to parsnips as well – and I feel the need to tell everyone about parsnips now. Also, I feel the flavors of this dish make it a great wintry dish so since it’s January and all – and parsnips’s peak season is late fall through winter – get to it!

If you haven’t tried parsnips before and are a bit unsure about them, I definitely would give this recipe a go – Jamie’s right – parsnips and pancetta are fantastic friends and the rosemary, Parmesan, and butter make this an elegantly comforting dish. Also, if you don’t have tagliatelle like I didn’t, don’t worry about it – spaghetti worked just fine. While parsnips aren’t the prettiest veggie in the garden, they’re definitely one of the tastiest and now one of my favorites. They look like white carrots, but have a much earthier (when describing the flavor to my aunt I said “dirty” – she offered the much more elegant and appealing “earthy”) flavor and not as much sweetness (at least to me/given they were bought in late spring – or the earthy + the sweet = better than less earthy carrot), and very slightly citrusy. I’m not a hater of carrots, but they’re not always in my top ten – er, like three since if we’re being honest about how many veggies I eat on a regular basis. I can’t wait to try parsnips in lieu of or in addition to carrots when, say, roasting a chicken or making a soup. Maybe I’ll find myself at a farmers’s market soon…

See...the parsnip's not that scary.

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