Lately I visited my friend Ulrike and at noon when we sat together for a quick lunch – a pot of pasta and a good pesto – I had this moment of enlightenment: For the first time I was realizing that her pasta always tasted better than mine, that it had this special flavour that turned even the simplest pasta dish into something extraordinary.
… It turned out to be a simple leave of laurel that she is cooking with her pasta – a tradition she learned from her mother and for long actually didn’t know that this method was far from common sense.
I love these culinary wow-moments … as is so often the case, one single ingredient, one twist in preparation makes the difference … fascinating!
These herby spaghetti – to finally come to talk about them – are probably one of the most easiest dishes you can imagine. It’s one of my lunch staples. The basic ingredients are always in the house, it’s simple and quick, yet really satisfying. A creamy sauce (yes, it’s a variation on the classic carbonara sauce) wraps around each spaghetti, flavoured by fresh italian herbs, tart capers, and pecorino cheese, open for all kinds of variations that your fridge suggests to you.
…It instantly puts yourself in some little trattoria in a small town in Liguria, a big steaming bowl of this pasta dish in the middle of a large table served by the mamma of the house who insists on you to “Toss, toss, you have to toss your spaghetti”…
Creamy herbed spaghetti (1 p.)
[Besides variating herbs, you can add f.ex. dried tomatoes, leftover bacon or ham, a few fried mushrooms, chopped spinach,…]
80 g spaghetti, 1 small leave laurel, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons mixed herbs, chopped (f.ex. parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary), 1 teaspoon capers, 2 tablespoons grated pecorino (or parmesan) cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg
In a medium pot bring salt water with laurel to boil. Let the water boil for a few minutes before you add the spaghetti. Cook spaghetti al dente. Meanwhile whisk egg and add chopped herbs and cheese. Drain pasta and immediately bring back to the pot. Pour egg mixture over the spaghetti and immediately start tossing. Add capers. Toss for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and serve immediately. [Sorry for the repetition of the word “immediately”, but this is the secret to this – apart from that – super easy recipe.]