Winter has arrived in the Cape on the back of a biting wind, delivering icy showers and increasingly shorter days. Winter is not strictly my favourite season, but it is one of the best times to cook complex, rich, and satisfying dishes.
Which is what I have not done today.
I was all set to cook a hearty chicken soup from scratch (keep an eye out for the next Ballitist, subscribers) but, as I stepped foot into the grocery store with my carefully prepared shopping list, I didn't want soup. I wanted something fresh, green, and springy. Something that could let me pretend for a few more meals that summer hadn't left us quite so finally just yet.
So, here it is. A green pasta recipe that I found on Chef Hailee Catalono's website. It's simple but luxurious and easy to make for anyone who is not confident in the kitchen but wants to make a showstopping, nutritious meal. Ever since the Green Goddess salad, TikTok chefs have essentially been blending together green ingredients and using the resulting savoury smoothie to dress pastas and salads. Bless them for it. Delicious, beautiful to look at, packed with healthy greens. Let's make pea and rocket burrata pasta.
What you'll need from the shops for this pasta recipe:
Pasta of your choice (I recommend long, thick ribbons like tagliatelli, but anything will do)
Lemon or lime
Burrata - if this is not easily available, you can replace it with ricotta, crème fraîche, or heavy cream
Anchovies (optional, but you're a coward if you don't use them) (sorry, I didn't mean that)
How to make pea & rocket burrata pasta
Step 1: prep your kak
Put two pots of salted water on the boil.
Prepare a bakkie or a big bowl of iced water.
Have a draining device like a colander or a spider strainer at the ready.
Dig out your immersion blender or Nutribullet or whatever from the depths of the kitchen cupboard.
Take a deep breath. Smile. Life is good.
Step 2: Blanch and shock your greens
First, we're going to shock our greens by giving them a little fright. Let's start with the rocket. Immerse it in the boiling salted water for a few seconds (we are not trying to cook it, we are just giving it a fright) and then plop it into the ice water.
Now is the time to get your pasta on the boil, too. Remember to save your pasta water!
Do you see that lovely verdant green colour? That's what happens when you blanch and shock your veggies. It will show up in the sauce, too. If you ever want bright green soups or sauces that don't turn brown when you cook them, blanch and shock your veggies first.
Okay, now squeeze all the water out of the rocket and set it aside.
Righto, now we'll do the same with the peas. Just don't squeeze the peas, please.
Step 3: blend your sauce
Now that your greens are suitably shocked, it's time to blend them into a gorgeous thick sauce to coat your pasta in.
I have a few notes on the sauce. I used lime instead of lemon because I wanted everything to be green - would recommend. Unfortunately, I forgot to buy anchovies from the store - something that Chef Hailee puts in the original recipe. I would recommend putting a little anchovy fillet or two into the sauce for that umami quality. Even if you don't like the stinky fish. You won't taste it, I promise. Or don't. Whatever. I'm not there. You have free will and agency.
I also emulsified a pat of butter into my sauce to give it a silkier texture and richer flavour. I do not own a microwave, so please appreciate the stroke of genius I had when thinking of ways to soften the butter before blending it into the sauce:
Anyway, when you've decided what you do and don't want in your sauce, put it all in a blender. This is what I had in mine:
Zest of one lime
If you are using butter, blend it with a little bit of the peas and a dash of warm pasta water before blending with the rest. This should stop the butter from congealing in the cold green mixture and emulsify it nicely. Otherwise, chuck everything in and blend with a few ladles of pasta water until it takes on a thick, velvety texture. We don't want chunky but we don't want green juice.
Step 4: plate
You're ready to go! Mix in the blended sauce with the cooked pasta until it looks gorge. Plate the pasta then nestle your burrata on top. Top with more lime zest, lime juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Shew. What a stunner. The real show happens when you cut into the burrata. Trust me.
And there you have it. The last touch of summer. The zesty brightness of the lime and the sweetness of the peas is complimented beautifully by the creaminess of the burrata, which is what makes this dish so enjoyable even in cold weather. Make it, eat it, love it, and check out more recipes from Chef Hailee.
The Life & Style team x