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Pasta with Orange, Ham and Gremolata

summary: delicious pasta from Jamie Schler’s cookbook “Orange Appeal”; in praise of Ilva’s photography; minor substitutions; adding Gremolata and Swiss chard;

Too bad they didn’t ask Ilva to take the photos…. -TPH, looking at the images in another cookbook

The day after we had mussels with orange and fennel, T was leafing through Jamie’s book and after gazing at Ilva’s beautiful photograph on page 101, announced that he was going to make the orange sauce for pasta.

Orange Appeal, Page 100

I was thrilled. As I was dancing around the kitchen, he said, “I’m really liking cooking with oranges.” Ha. Lucky me! Because I’m really liking eating the fabulous results.

And look! This is how things appeared a short time later.

Orange Appeal Pasta

You can see why I was dancing!

Granted, we did make a few changes (Ha. When haven’t we?) to Jamie’s recipe. She calls for heavy cream, which we didn’t have. But we did have sour cream so substituted with a bechamel made with milk and then added some sour cream.

We didn’t have speck but used wonderful smoky ham we get from our Polish butcher. Instead of the recommended fresh egg- fettucine or tagliatelle, we used penne.

Also, we wanted this to be a one dish dinner. So just before the penne were finished boiling, we added some chopped red Swiss chard. And then, instead of garnishing with grated parmesan, we used the pine nut gremolata that was left over from making the mussels on page 98. (I bet toasted walnuts would be nice as an alternative.)

Aren’t the red stems of the Swiss chard beautiful?

As far as I can guess, the chard didn’t alter the beautiful delicate flavour of this really lovely orange sauce.

We loved this pasta dish! The sauce is beautifully delicate with just the right hint of orange. What a revelation.

T made more sauce than we needed for dinner, so there was more for lunch the next day, garnishing with chopped flat leaf parsley. No surprise: the sauce is just as brilliant with spaghettini. I can’t wait to try it with fresh pasta now.

spaghettini

Thank you once again, Jamie!

Oranges always make me think of Ann Holme’s 1963 classic, “I Am David”, about a boy who, with the help of a prison guard, has escaped from a concentration camp somewhere in Eastern Europe and makes his way alone to Denmark:

    [H]e unpacked his bundle and arranged his possessions neatly by his side – his compass, his knife, his bottle, the bit of bread the man on board the ship had given him, and finally the round yellow thing. He held it firmly but carefully while he scratched it with his finger-nail and bored his finger right through the skin. It was moist inside. He sniffed his finger and licked it – it smelled good and has a bitter-sweet taste. So he took the peel right off and pulled the inside apart. It was quite easy to separate into small pieces, each like a half moon. He was hungry, and he had a bit of bread as well. He wondered if that round thing were fit to eat.
    Taking a bite, he chewed and swallowed and waited to see what would happen. But nothing happened, nothing except that it tasted good. It did not make him ill.
David ate half the pieces and chewed a bit of bread,. Then he tried the orange-coloured peel, but that tasted sharp and unpleasant.
[…]
    [D]own here in the town […] [t]here was talk everywhere – people walking along with baskets and parcels, people standing in shops where the lights were lit, all were talking. The first time David was aware of it he could hardly bring himself to move on – almost everybody was laughing! […] [I]t sounded pleasant, even beautiful, as if they were all content, and felt friendly towards one another. […]
    David saw the same fruit again, a whole pile of it in a great basket outside a shop. “Arancia”, it was called. David translated the word into German: “apfelsinen” – he had heard of it after all.
 
– Anne Holm (English Translation: L. W. Kingsland), I Am David, chapter 2, p35-36&41-42

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Orange Appeal: Savory and Sweet Orange Appeal: Savory and Sweet
by Jamie Schler with photos by Ilva Beretta

Add a little sunshine to every meal with these sweet and savory recipes. – Gibbs Smith Publishing

Orange and speck, a smoky dry-cured ham, is an unusaul combination of sweet and salty, but one that makes a phenomenal pasta sauce. The orange cream sauce is quick and easy to put together […] [S]imply toss in fresh pasta with more speck and fresh hervbs and you have a flavorful and exceptional dish.
 
– Jamie Schler, Pasta with Orange and Speck, p100

 

penne with orange sauce

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