Thursday, 21 April 2011

Thunder & Lightning

"And snatched from Jove the lightning shaft and power to thunder". Manilus, 1st Century AD, Astonomica.

Thunder & Lightning is the name given to a pasta/ chickpea dish I read about in Elizabeth David's Italian Food.  The pasta is the lightning and the chickpeas, the thunder.  They are mixed together and lightly dressed with olive oil, melted butter and Parmesan cheese.   The pasta is traditionally mixed broken pasta , often leftovers.  The simplicity appealed to me and I've served it to the kids before.  However, I decided to embelish it a little for a family supper.  I used only spaghetti and finished up a jar of basil pesto.  I'd been flicking through ED's Italian food and there is little mention of pesto which is surprising considering it's ubiquity today in British/ Italian cookery.  However, I recalled that ED said pesto could also be made with parsley and Walnut and our friends at Simply Italian do a lovely Walnut pesto.  I mixed the remaining basil pesto into the spaghetti and warmed chickpeas and added olive oil, Parmesan and then a couple of tablespoons of ground walnuts I'd just whizzed up in a blender.  The side was mushrooms, garlic and courgette sauteed in wok. 

Just as I was about to start serving up, my husband invited the children into the garden to put up the tent.  We're going camping next week and so this is to check the tent out.  I knew I couldn't compete with this excitement, so instead I cleared up, prepared a soft fruit salad for dessert and put the Thunder & Lightning into bowls on a tray and took it into the garden for an al-fresco supper.  By now, my husband was finishing off the guy ropes and the kids had lost interest and were playing.  My entry was well timed and everyone enjoyed the meal, although the kids were a little picky about the courgette.  I consoled myself with the thought of their eating walnuts.  Dessert was the soft fruit salad (kiwi, mango, satsuma, banana and white grapes with ice-cream.

I haven't worked out what we're going to be eating on the real camping trip yet.

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