Salty

Rose pasta with grilled melon, salt baked asparagus and pistachio parmesan (vegetarian|dairy-free)

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So why and how is this pasta pink? I hadn’t the slightest that I could perform such wonders myself and that maybe a professional or some high-tech equipment was required to achieve such results- ok so it’s not so profound or impressive, but the fact that I did it, well I’m surprised and moderately proud!

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In addition to this new ‘skill’ I’ve developed in dying certain food types, I’ve also managed to use food waste to do it. We all know that skins usually contain a concentrated amount of nutrients (applicable to fruit and veg, not so much anything else e.g. lukewarm tea or meat, though chicken skin tastes pretty good actually, ok well not that, but not the point I’m trying to make here!), but yet so many people get rid of them, including me. Who wants to eat the skin of a mango or melon when the inside tastes so much better?! I’ve become more aware of what I now throw in the bin so if I use it before it ends up in the trash, I’ll feel less guilty.

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So things I don’t eat the skins from: mangoes, dragon fruit, bananas, oranges, lemons, melons, pumpkin- the list could go on. But life doesn’t have to end this way for these foods. I thought I’d give some of them a chance and introduced them to the oven. The pumpkin skin gave a nice, deep bite, complementing its soft, sticky interior. Lemons and oranges, skins boiled in sugar syrup and voila, candy. Bananas and mangoes, not found a solution other than compost, but I’m working on it. Pumpkin is pretty much related to melon so I stuck it on the grill, seemed ok. The flesh was a little on the mushy side, but when consumed as a sauce, it worked well.

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Dragon fruit? I’m currently in China and this real pimp of a fruit is in season- the flesh isn’t really that great-tasting to be honest, but the aesthetic is out of this world. I’ve been using it in smoothies and alcoholic slushies in this ridiculous heat, so there’s been a heck load of left-over peels. The exterior kind of freaks me out, with its long green tentacles fixed to that deep pink skin so I didn’t really want it in my mouth, but I’m so fixated by it’s vibrant colour (even have a lipstick the same shade) so I was determined to take advantage of its pigment. Would it turn water pink if I boil it? Would the colour stick to food that I boil in it? So many questions, only one way to find out. Seemed to work. And pink pasta was born that day in my kitchen.

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Stick it with melons and a bit of salty stuff on a plate (full on fruit pasta is a step too far for me, baby steps) and we just might have something. A refreshing dish, perfect for summer.

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Serving size:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 canary melon
  • 350g dry pasta (spaghetti, linguine, pappardelle etc)
  • Generous amount of dragon fruit/purple potato peels
  • Handful fresh basil
  • 15-20 asparagus stalks trimmed
  • 1-2tsp rose water
  • 2tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp basil oil
  • 120g pistachios
  • 1tbsp yeast flakes
  • 1tsp rock salt
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Slice melon and place under hot grill for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  2. Bake asparagus brushed with oil and sprinkled with rock salt for 10 minutes at 190C.
  3. Add peels and rose water to boiling water and cook pasta until al dente.
  4. Combine basil oil, fresh basil and salt and pepper with pasta.
  5. Roughly blitz the pistachios and yeast flakes in a blender.
  6. Plate the pasta, topped with the melon, asparagus and pistachio parmesan.

Work a forkful of pasta into the mushy melon, along with a part of the skin and a stick of salty asparagus- mouth party! I also had some leftover purple potato crisps and added them for an additional crunch.

 

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