I’m crazy about Piment d’Espelette, that famed spice from the Basque country. It’s made in and around the town of Espelette, from chiles that have a subtle heat tinged with bright fruitiness.
The spice brings richness, intensity, and a gentle heat to dishes, and is great for revving up fish, chicken, and especially eggs.
Here’s one of my favorite recipes using Piment d’Espelette. It’s a quick pasta toss modeled a little bit after the famed Italian quickie, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (pasta with garlic and olive oil). In my version, the Piment d’Espelette replaces the traditional red pepper flakes. For the cheese, use any great cheese you like—but to remain true to the Basque country, an Ossau-Iraty cheese would be great. Other good choices include Pecorino Toscana and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Garlic-Olive Oil Pasta with Piment d’Espelette
This is from my e-book, The French Pasta Cookbook: 25 délicieuse recipes from bistros, cafés, and home kitchens.
Makes 4 servings.
8 ounces dried capellini or angel-hair pasta
1/4 cup top-quality extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
1 teaspoon chicken base paste, such as Better Than Bouillon
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley or chives, or a combination
1/2 cup freshly grated aged Pyrenées sheep’s milk cheese, such as Ossau-
Iraty or another hard-aged cheese (2 ounces)
1 teaspoon Piment d’Espelette, or more to taste.
1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Set the pasta aside to keep warm.
2. In the same pot in which you cooked the pasta, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the garlic and cook, watching constantly and stirring often, until it starts to turn golden. Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic from the oil. Set aside. Off the heat slowly add the pasta cooking water to the pot—stand back, it will spatter. Add the chicken base paste. Bring to a boil, cook until reduced by about half, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the cooked pasta and the garlic slivers to the pot. Toss well. Off heat, add the fresh parsley; toss again. Let the past stand for a few minutes for pasta to absorb some of the liquid. Divide into shallow bowls. Top each serving with some of the grated cheese and Piment d’Espelette.
For more ways to use Piment d’Espelette, check out my recent blog post, How to Use Piment d’Espelette.
For more ideas on how to bring easy, everyday French cooking to your table, follow me on Facebook at Chez Bonne Femme.
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 195 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more. In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.
Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
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