Gemelli or “Twice the Delight”!

EpicureanPiranha | May 20th, 2009 - 09:59

I was explaining to a friend recently that if you serve different types of pasta with the same sauce, it somehow seems to alters the taste. Not dramatically, but depending on the type of pasta used and whether the sauce in thin or thick, chunky or creamy, etc., it will cling to and be absorbed differently by different types of pasta such as, for example, linguini [long and thin] and fusilli. The mouth-feel when you take a bite and chew will also be different. Try experimenting and you’ll see what I mean.

So why am I telling you this? Well, often, it’s better to use the same type of pasta that has been suggested in a particular recipe, as it will really bring out the flavour of the sauce.

Gemelli is the Italian word for “twin”, or in EpicureanPiranha’s Kitchen: “Twice the Delight”! However, if you can’t find any gemelli, don’t worry – you can substitute other pasta shapes this recipe with equal success! Excellent ones to try are garganelli, a small, square egg noodle rolled into a tube, or cavatappi, a corkscrew-shaped macaroni. You’ll be able to find these pasta shapes in most large super markets in their imported Italian pasta section, or in many Italian markets. But if you still can’t find any of these, use pasta such as fusilli or penne [both widely available].

Gemelli with cream, Italian rosemary ham, fresh tomato and baby spinach

A gorgeous dish ready in minutes!

Gemelli with cream, Italian rosemary ham, fresh tomato and baby spinach

Gemelli has a lovely shape for holding cream sauces. A large, very finely chopped French shallot [the size of a small onion] and a thinly sliced, fat and juicy garlic clove, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary plus a pinch of cayenne pepper are sautéed gently in extra virgin olive oil and butter. The thinly sliced ham is cut in squares and added to the pan, then cooked for a few seconds. Small cubes of seeded tomatoes are added and cooked another 30 seconds or so. Then a little white wine is added, and finally a generous amount of rich [35%] cream and a few gratings of fresh nutmeg, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Once it starts bubbling, a few handfuls of baby spinach are added along with 125 ml freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and about 10 leaves of fresh basil. The cooked and drained pasta is immediately added to the sauce, and stirred over med-high heat for a short minute before serving in warm plates with additional grated Parmigiano.

It all takes about 20 minutes: 12 minutes or so to prep all ingredients before starting to cook, then another 6 minutes or so to cook the pasta and the sauce while the pasta is cooking.

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