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Pasta salad lacking nuance...


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I used to have a book of recipes from former southern French chef Pierre Vedel. No longer can find the book, but fortunately I managed to type up three recipes from it and still have them on my computer.

One is for a pasta salad, which I tweaked a little. Today I thought I'd go back to his original version (well, almost), but when I tasted it, it was just OK, a little one-note, lacking nuance.

Here's what it's made of:

Spinach tagliatelle, chopped hazelnuts, torn basil and an egg yolk, in a "citronnette" of lemon juice and hazelnut oil cut with peanut oil. Salt and pepper.

(Vedel is all about understatement...)

Previously, my changes involved switching the hazelnuts to walnuts (same with the oil) and sautéeing some chopped up pancetta and adding that and its rendered fat. I liked the walnut version.

So I did add the pancetta, but the hazelnut version is just... a blanket of hazelnut with a flash of basil now and then. Is there anything I can add or tweak that would give it more depth? Maybe balsamic vinegar? Chopped up sun-dried tomatoes?

Thanks for any ideas...

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Definatley the lemon zest....maybe some hot pepper flakes or fresh hot pepper thin sliced. I like sparkely flavors in cold foods...spice and acids and Salt


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Many thanks for the suggestions. I didn't have the time to go back out to find other products and nothing at home to add, so served the pasta salad as was, for me and my bf, yesterday. He really didn't like it (surprise!). But with the leftovers, I'm going to add some goat cheese. Great suggestion there. Also interested in the lemon zest idea.

I'm upset, though, because this was a dry run for an upcoming dinner where I hoped it would make for an elegant and tasty first course. Now I need a new idea.

Edited by sharonb (log)
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