Smoked Pecorino Gremolata on Italian Pasta
Just to give you an idea about this challenge you need yourself to imagine a hot spring day! It’s getting near 30°C outside in the middle of one of the most beautiful orchards I’ve seen! With in the middle of this scene our cooking station! Fantastic area to cook in. If it wasn’t for the huge amount of nerves and the Orangery surrounding us! Do I need to tell how hot it was? But as if that was not enough, Hugo Kennis announced the “Pasta Master challenge” with the words: “you have 15 minutes for this… GO”. Being a low and slow foodie I stumbled but my mind got a call to action seeing the Smoked Pecorino to enrich the Gremolata coming to my mind! If this was enough to save me? Read on and find out!
Disclosure: “This post is part of an advertorial campaign by Heinz.nl. Affiliate links are used. All opionions shared are my own. ”
Probably smoked Pecorino won’t be easy to find in your local warehouse. One of the conditions on which I agreed to join this competition was to be able to represent the vision of my blog. Being BBQ and smoke! Since it wasn’t possible to light a fire in the orangerie I insisted to be able to use some smoked products. Heinz agreed to let me use smoked versions of the ingredients other people would receive. Therefor I started my cold smoker the day before my trip to Amsterdam for a quick version of the smoked Pecorino. Not knowing whether I would be able to use it or not! Luckily it’s not much work to prepare a smoked pecorino. The cold smoker runs itself with a delicious result in the end! For optimal taste however it needs to rest one week. Yet the surface tasted awesome so I used only the surface parts.
Making a dish in 15 minutes… My own worst nightmare. Actually I wasn’t expecting this to be honest. Being a huge fan of cooking low and slow I was challenged far out of my comfort zone! To be honest, the reason why I love low and slow meals is my lack of motoric skills, especially in times of pressure. It’s a miracle I didn’t lose any fingers or dropped my pasta bowl in the end! Luckily my mind and body seems to function pretty well under healthy stress and the idea for this recipe grew pretty fast seeing the Smoked Pecorino show up amongst the ingredients. Adding this to a Gremolata (parsley, garlic and lemon zeste) makes it a smokey puncher to pimp your pasta with little effort! Pasta in the boiling water and searching for the other ingredients! Some grilled bell pepper and zucchin, check! Bacon, I need bacon! Bam! Everything grilled in the oven… Ah the oven doesn’t work… Wiping the sweat and rethink… The pan! Time’s ticking away but all seems to come together! 5, 4, … Plating time… 1 and stop! Hands in the air! Just in time!
Sorry only in dutch …
What’s following is even worse! Being even more nervous than before I started (I bet you can notice it in the movie) I need to wait for the judge to come up with the feedback and scores! Time seems endless in these moments. Especially when I saw what the others made in no time I was starting to fear and put myself in the underdog position. Jelle (The Messy Chef) created a plate with more ingredients than I could collect in 15 minutes all together in one amazing looking pasta! Some people seem to work a lot faster than I do! As last in line I got my feedback: “This is a pasta like pasta should taste! Simple, packed full of flavor with a beautiful BBQ twist! The bacon and smoked pecorino gremolata bring the magic!”. Good start, but still not sure! Untill a couple of minutes later when I start to realise Hugo Kennis crowned me as the “Pasta Master”. A boost for my confidence, yet pretty humble compared to what the others made!
AFTER ALL I’M NOT ONLY PROUD BECAUSE I WON THIS CHALLENGE! I’M ALSO HAPPY TO SHOW THAT YOU CAN DO SOME BEAUTIFUL THINGS WITH BBQ EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME! WITH A LITTLE PREPARATION YOU CAN CREATE YOURSELF AN EPIC (THX FOR THE COMPLIMENT @DISHTALES) MEAL IN 15 MINUTES. MAYBE YOU NEED TO TRY THIS YOURSELF! I BET YOU WON’T REGRET! IF YOU’RE AS ENTHOUSIAST AS ME, I HOPE TO SEE YOUR VOTES! I REALLY NEED THEM TO KEEP MY TITLE AND IT TAKES NOT MUCH TIME! ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS GOING TO THE POST ABOVE AND TAG ME (@THE_BBQ_BASTARD) IN THE COMMENTS OF THIS POST! IF YOU WANT TO DO SOMETHING EXTRA, ASK YOUR FRIENDS TO DO THE SAME! THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR ALL THE SUPPORT SHOWN!
Craving for BBQ at the beginning of your working week? No time to light a fire? No worries! With a small preparation during the weekend you'll be able to add a stunning smoke flavour to your Italian Pasta with bacon and Smoked Pecorino Gremolata. 15 min. for a smoking hot pasta!
- 500 gr Fresh Pappardelle
- 1 jar Heinz Traditional Bolognese Sauce
- 4 slices Bacon
- Italian spices at taste
- 2 Sweet Bell Peppers
- 2 Yellow Zucchini or green
- 50 gr. Pecorino
- 1 tsp lemon zeste
- 3 tbsp. Freshly chopped Parsley
- 1/2 clove Crushed Garlic
- Olive Oil at taste
- Salt and Pepper at taste
Fill the cold smoke generator with beech wood smokedust. Don't stuff it too tight or it won't get enough oxygen to keep on smoking.
Lit the sawdust with a torch and you'll notice the sawdust starts to smoke. Put the pecorino on the grid above the smoke in a lid closed bbq with the upper vents slightly open.
From now on the smoke generator does the hard work! Let the Pecorino cheese smoke for 8-12u on the beech wood sawdust. Remove the Smoked Pecorino and put it in a vacuum bag during a week for optimal result.
Bring a large bowl of water to the boiling point and add a handfull of salt. Cook the pasta following the instructions on the package (10 min. for fresh pappardelle).
Roast the sweet bell pepper on a hot fire until it's skin is blackened. Now you can remove the skin with ease.
Cut the zucchini in slices from about 0.5 cm and sprinkle them with salt and olive oil. Roast until golden brown and quarter them.
Rub the bacon with Italian spices and bake them golden brown.
While the vegetables are grilling you can start making the smoked pecorino gremolata. Crush one clove of garlic, add 3 tbsp. thinly cut parsley and 1 tsp. lemon zeste. Grate the smoked pecorino at taste and mix through. Taste and adjust at your own preference!
Cut the bacon in small pieces and add the grilled vegetables. Add Heinz Traditional Pasta sauce (or your own pasta sauce) and let simmer for another 2 minutes.
Take a large bowl and put the pappardelle in the bowl. Add the sauce and vegetables and finish wit the smoked pecorino gremolata at taste! You'll be amazed how refreshing this puncher is!