Saturday, October 14, 2006

Tagliatelle al Cappesante con Basilico - Finale!

Many reckon basil has an Italian origin, probably because it is mostly used in Italian food. According to Wikipedia, the word basil comes from the Greek βασιλευς (basileus), meaning "king", as it is believed to have grown above the spot where St. Constantine and Helen discovered the Holy Cross. The Oxford English Dictionary quotes speculations that basil may have been used in "some royal unguent, bath, or medicine". Basil is still considered the "king of herbs" by many cookery authors.

tagliatelle al cappesante con basilico

An alternative etymology has "basil" coming from the Latin word basilicus, meaning dragon and being the root for basilisk, but this likely was a linguistic reworking of the word as brought from Greece.

Basil is most commonly recommended to be used fresh, and in cooked recipes, is generally added at the last moment, as cooking destroys the flavour quickly. Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto — a green Italian oil-and-herb sauce from the city of Genoa, its other two main ingredients being olive oil and pine nuts.

Okay, my most favourite way to treat basil is still the Italian. Mixing fresh basil with pasta has been a standard ritual when time and ingredients are being constrained. For me, a plateful of pasta with a modest touch of cream and basil, accompanied by a glass of chardonnay, is a thoroughly heavenly experience.


When it comes to pasta, my choice is straightforwardly tagliatelle, a flat noodle made of egg. It is the classic pasta of the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Individually, they are long, flat ribbons, similar in shape to fettuccine.

The best way to make tagliatelle is, almost unarguably, with seafood. Those who still think of Bolognese, excuse me, the Minimalist Cooking will not entertain. This time my choice is scallops with mushrooms. No, not the usual white button mushrooms. Shimeji mushrooms!

Ingredients, for a single serving:
1. 2 nests of tagliatelle (fresh is better, but dried just fine);
2. scallops, as much as you want;
3. a handful of brown Shimeji mushrooms;
4. 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped, not crushed/pressed;
5. a half glassful of fresh full-cream milk, leaving it to room temperature;
6. 1 small cube of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese; and of course
7. a handful of fresh basil, finely chopped.

tagliatelle al cappesante con basilico

Bring tagliatelle to a fast boil and add sea-salt. Instructions say 6 mins. But I’ll give it 4 only. Leave the lid open and stir occassionally.

Heat up the pan with garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Bring the scallops in and let them simmered, followed by Shimeji mushrooms in about ½ min. Stir them slightly for ¼ min.

The tagliatelle should be done and drained by now. Pour it over the scallops and mushrooms. Stir-fry them all together for about ½ min.

Now pour the milk. Yes, I’d prefer milk to cooking cream. Cream is just too thick for me. And I don’t really like when it becomes too creamy. Grind some pepper over it. Stir it for another minute. Grind half a cube of Parmigiano Reggiano and turn off the heat. Give it another stir.

tagliatelle al cappesante con basilico

Bring everything onto a warm plate. Now it’s time, the last moment, for the basil to join. Sprinkle it well all over. A last grind of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, few more drops of extra olive oil and it’s done!

Don’t exactly know how to pronounce it. But Tagliatelle al Cappesante con Basilico is an unqualified Italian name I can think of.

Thank you, Johanna! Thank you, GM5!



Blogger GM5 said...

Why garlic has to be finely chopped but not crushed/pressed? What is the difference?

8:51 AM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

Good morning, Jeh Jeh! How come you're always the first? As if you were my only fan!

Good question. I'm glad you finally asked this. Folks tend to use a crusher to do it. (1) It will crush away all the juice; and (2) the remains tend to leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Only by chopping it with a sharp knife will keep the original flavours intact and at the same time suppress its strength.

9:35 AM GMT+8  
Blogger GM5 said...

Any present to your only fan for asking good question? :p

Btw, will you keep the "dress" of the scallops? I think it's delicious.

9:48 AM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

Yes, I do when I have the fresh ones. But some people may find it a little rough.

11:45 AM GMT+8  
Blogger GM5 said...

This first song seems to be very familar. Was it from a movie?

11:02 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

No, but the same guy did a lot of soundtracks incl Amelie and Goodbye Lenin. Has been my favourite of late!

9:40 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous peace said...

same spirit as Amelie!

1:28 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous mimi said...

ai ya

my coriander died >_<

5:15 AM GMT+8  
Blogger GM5 said...

Hi mimi,

Try growing from seeds. It will be much stronger.

8:00 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous mimi said...


ho long does it take?

i can just do it in a pot..coz i dun ve garden myself..though there is a big one in my hall.

is it ok to put it in a pot?

8:06 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous mimi said...




謝埋gm5 先.

9:55 AM GMT+8  
Blogger GM5 said...

Anytime, mimi.

I think you may do it in a pot but it may take longer time than growing directly on the ground. It may take around 4 - 6 weeks, depending on the weather.

Let me post a picture of my first coriander grown 2 years ago, which was the largest coriander I have ever seen, on my blog tonight.

12:16 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...



we'll chat again. take great care of yourself!


yes, it's still very Amelie. but his late works overall are more mature than the Amelie years.


thank you for visiting and commenting!

9:14 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous mimi said...



11:36 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

dear friends,

if only i had time enough to do a little update. and i love this page so much that it's still hard to let go...

so please be patient and for the time being visit the white vinyl for a nice musical short film.

thank you for visiting the minimalist cooking.

6:55 PM GMT+8  

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