Sea purslane is a great alternative to marsh samphire, or other coastal vegetables and is traditionally used in fish dishes but honestly has more diverse uses than we like to give it credit for. To complement its unique saltiness, I incorporated both anchovies and juicy capers into this fresh pasta dish along with fresh chili and peppery watercress. The anchovies are sliced finely and fried until they start to disintegrate but infuse the garlicky butter sauce.
I've enjoyed making fresh pasta during lockdown and have gone through the motions of fettucine, papardelle, ravioli and this farfalle. Fresh pasta I find really lends itself to using just butter or olive oil along with fresh herbs, garlic, chili and in this case foraged sea purslane. That being said it is a time-consuming process, so you can easily purchase dried farfalle or similar shapes from the supermarket to make this tasty, quick dish a triumph.
This recipe is once again inspired by ingredients sent in this month's Forage Box, a subscription service delivering a monthly collection of wild/foraged foods. Forage Box aim to provide home cooks like me with 'snapshots’ of wild flavours and to showcase their potential in the kitchen. From syrups to salts, freshly picked to powdered, juice to jam, their foraged ingredients will delight and surprise you. Find out more information on the subscription and how to sign up here.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)
*Note: you will need a pasta cutter if making the farfalle to create the crinkled edges. If you don't want to cook all the pasta you can freeze it for later and cook from frozen, or it will last a couple of days in the fridge.
170g super Fine 00 Grade Pasta Flour
90g semolina flour
3 eggs + 1/2 extra yolk
1/2 tsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp of salt
4 tbsp butter
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small red chili, finely sliced
50g jar/tin of quality anchovies, sliced into small chunks
3 tbsp capers
2 tbsp chili oil
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
100g bag of watercress, stalks removed
2 handfuls of fresh sea purslane, leaves picked and washed thoroughly
50g parmesan, grated
Place the flour on a board or in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth.
Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined.
Knead the pieces of dough together until you're left with a smooth lump of dough. Knead and work it with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour for 8-10 minutes until the pasta starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury. You'll also feel that the dough springs back, or that there's some resistance when pushing down on it.
Wrap the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before you use it. Make sure the cling film covers it well or it will dry out and go crusty round the edges.
Cut off 1/3 of the dough. Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out and place back in the fridge. Flatten dough with your hands and pass through the largest setting of your pasta machine. Fold in half, rub with more flour, and pass through the pasta machine again.
Keep passing though the machine until you reach an even rectangular sheet of smooth, not sticky, consistency.
Pass the dough through the middle setting of your machine and then through the second-to-last to make a long and thin sheet. Trim the sheet into an even rectangle and rub with more flour.
Trim off the short edge of the rectangle with a decorative ravioli wheel cutter. Trim the rectangle into strips, about 3/4 inch wide, with a flat ravioli wheel cutter. Section the strips into 1 1/3-inch large pieces with the decorative cutter.
Push the sides of each piece towards the centre to form a bow tie and secure with a little dab of water.
Proceed the same way with the rest of the dough. Transfer the farfalle to a floured surface and sprinkle with more semolina flour. Do not overlap or they will stick. Let dry for about 30 minutes before cooking.
*Note: timings will differ slightly depending on whether you're using fresh or dried pasta, but the sauce will take about 5 minutes to make so you don't have long. If cooking fresh pasta, this should take 3-4 minutes.
Fill a large saucepan with salted water and boil.
Add the butter to a large deep frying pan and place on a high heat. Once bubbling add the crushed garlic and fry for 1 minute until golden, then add the fresh chili, anchovies and 2 tbsp of the capers, leave sizzling.
Add the fresh pasta and cook until al dente for 3-4 minutes. Don't drain using a colander but simply add the pasta to the saucepan of sauce with a slotted spoon (this avoids damaging the pasta). If using dried cook according to packet instructions, drain and add to the pan as you would with fresh.
Mix thoroughly until the pasta is coated in the butter, drizzle with the chili and extra virgin olive oil. Add the watercress, the sea purslane and remaining capers and mix through. Add the grated cheese, plenty of salt and pepper and then serve.