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.
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.
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.
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!