Pomegranate ‘Paccherini’ with fennel, olives, anchovies, orange zest, and crispy bread crumbs
Have you ever heard of fruit-flavored pasta? I bet you didn’t!
Well, there is always a first. Rustichella d’Abruzzo has created a whole range of colorful Paccherini (inspired by the iconic Paccheri pasta from Naples, but smaller) flavored with real fruit juice. From pineapple to pomegranate and berries, they are tasty and very fun to use to create new flavor pairing.
You’ll be mistaken to think that this pasta actually tastes like fruit, the flavor is much subtler. Consider it more like an aroma of fruits and that for me makes this pasta much more flexible and interesting to use. There are quite a lot of sauces to try with this Paccherini and the beautiful thing is that on each pack of pasta you will find some pairing ideas to inspire you.
The quality, of course, I assure you, speaks for itself like all Rustichella d’Abruzzo pasta range.
For my recipe with the pomegranate flavored Paccherini I’ve decided to go down a different route, and given the fact that summer is at our doors, I opted for a pasta salad inspired by the ‘Sicilian fennels, olives and orange salad’. It is a bit of a cheffy one but I hope it will unlock a few ideas for you to create your own.
Preparation Time: 1.5 h
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
240 g of Paccherini al melograno ‘Rustichella d’Abruzzo’
2 large fennels
1 small onion
3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch of wild fennel or basil
80 g of pitted black olives
40 g of coarse breadcrumbs or panko
Salt and pepper to taste
For the pickling liquid
500 ml of water
500 ml of white wine vinegar
15 g of sugar
20 g of salt
Start by preparing olive powder the day before. Spread the olives on a large baking tray and bake at 80 degrees until dry, It might take up to 6 hours. Powder them in a food processor. A dehydrator works brilliantly too for the job. The olive powder is not essential, alternatively, you can simply chop the olives by knife.
To prepare the fennel pure rinse one fennel and chop roughly. Chop the onion and sweat in a pan for 5 minutes with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. When translucent, add the chopped fennel, cover with a lid and cook until soft. You can add a splash of water if it is drying out. When ready, blend well and pass the puree through a fine sieve to have a very smooth puree. Keep aside at room temperature.
Prepare the pickling liquid by bringing all the ingredients to a boil. Rinse the other fennel and slice thinly with a mandolin if you have one. Place the slices into a heat-proof bowl and pour the hot pickling liquid on top of the fennel. Cover with film and let the remaining heat cook gently the fennel slices. Drain only when cooled completely.
Pan roast the chunky breadcrumbs with a drizzle of oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. It will take no longer than 5 minutes on low heat. Remember to stir often. Blanch the prosciutto-bone (or pork rind) into boiling water for about 5 minutes. I usually crumb leftover stale bread to obtain the exact grind I want.
Cook the Paccherini in salted boiling water for 12 minutes until al dente. Drain well, drizzle with oil and let them cool spread on a tray.
Plate the pasta as you please and add dollops of fennel puree. A squeeze bottle is very helpful to obtain a beautifully dressed plate. Add the black olive powder and the pickled fennel slices. Drizzle with oil and garnish with the toasted bread crumbs, orange zest, anchovies’ segments, and small basil and fennel leaves.
Recipe by Danilo Cortellini