Friday, July 15, 2016

Fettuccine Pasta with Pernod Provencal Sauce and Fromage Saint Agur

     A Nice Summer Pasta With A Rich Double Cream Bleu Cheese! 
     Today's pasta recipe example was cooked as a personal employee meal while working at the Le Cordon Bleu Technique Restaurant.  I made a small batch of a highly seasoned Sauce Provencal that was flavored with Pernod Liquor for a fish du dour offering.  I figured that using the sauce to make a pasta would be a cheap healthy meal. 
     Pernod is a classic French anise and herb liquor that is used extensively in fine cooking.  Pernod has a complex flavor that is perfect for seafood and oysters benefit the most from the flavor of this fine liquor.  
    To get the most out of a liquor like Pernod, adding a large amount to a sauce to increase the flavor is not really the answer.  Pernod currently sells for a high price, so adding too much can dramatically increase costs.  Knowing when to add the Pernod is a better solution.  When Pernod is added at just the right time, the full flavor develops and lingers on. 

     French Saint Agur Cheese is a pasteurized cow's milk cheese that was created in 1988.  Part of the reason Saint Agur has been heavily marketed abroad is because American foreign trade laws restrict unpasteurized cheese.  Traditional French Roquefort is unpasteurized, so it has been difficult to obtain in America in recent years, while Saintt Agur has appeared in cheese shops nearly everywhere.     
     Saint Agur contains over 60% butterfat, so it is a Double Cream class cheese.  Brie and Camembert also are in the Double Cream classification.  Saint Agur has a rich, yet mild creamy sharp bleu flavor.  Saint Agur can be sliced but it will not crumble.  A spoon can easily be used to gather small scoops of this cheese for garnishing a pasta.  

     There are hundreds of recipes for Sauce Provencal.  Sauce Provencal can be very basic or it can be complex.  I first made today's highly seasoned Sauce Provencal while working as a sous chef at a café with a French chef who was an instructor at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.  
     Basically, we were overstocked with fresh herbs at the café one day and the French chef said "Try to use the herbs, before they go bad."  I response I said "Can I dump them in a batch of Sauce Provencal for a special du jour?"  The French chef replied, "That will be good.  That is how we do it in France!"  As one can see, making decisions as a French sous chef can be easy!  

     Pernod Provencal Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 1 2/3 cups.  (Enough for 1 large portion of pasta.)
     Step 1:  Place a sauce pot over medium low/low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 cloves of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1 tablespoon of brunoise cut onion.  (Brunoise = 1/8"x1/8"x1/8")
     Add 2 tablespoons of brunoise cut carrot.
     Add 2 tablespoons of brunoise cut celery.
     Add 2 tablespoons of brunoise cut leek.
     Step 2:  Gentle sauté and sweat the vegetables till the onions and leeks turn clear in color.
     Step 3:  Add 1 1/2 cups of tomato concasse.  (peeled seeded diced fresh ripe tomato)
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of tomato paste.
     Gently sauté till the tomatoes start to become tender.
     Step 4:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1/2 cup of light chicken stock.
     Add 1/2 cup of light vegetable stock.
     Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till most of the excess liquid evaporates.
     Step 6:  Add 1 cup of light vegetable stock.
     Add 2 pinches of minced fresh tarragon.
     Add 2 pinches of minced fresh thyme.
     Add 2 pinches of marjoram.
     Add 2 pinches of minced fresh oregano. 
     Add 2 pinches of Herbs de Provence.  
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of thin sliced chives.
     Add 1 teaspoon of chopped basil.
     Add 1 small pinch of white pepper.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 7:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Add 1/4 cup of Pernod Liquor.
     Step 8:  Reduce the temperature to low heat. 
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin tomato sauce consistency.  
     Step 9:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of virgin olive oil while stirring.
     Remove the sauce from the heat.
     Set the sauce aside or chill it for later use.  
     *It is best to reheat this sauce to order, rather than to keep it warm.  

     Fettuccine Pasta with Pernod Provencal Sauce and Fromage Saint Agur:
     This recipe yields 1 pasta entrée.
     Step 1:  Start cooking 1 portion of fettuccine pasta in boiling water till it is al dente.  
     *While the pasta cooks, the sauce can be reheated.
     Step 2:  Place about 1 1/2 cups of the Pernod Provencal Sauce in a wide sauté pan.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer over medium low heat.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Keep the sauce warm till the pasta is ready. 
     Step 4:  When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain the water off of the pasta.
     Add the pasta to the sauce.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 5:  Use a long straight tine carving fork to coil the pasta and place it on a plate.
     Spoon any excess sauce over and around the pasta.
     Step 6:  Use a spoon to gather a few pieces of French Saint Agur Cheese and place them on top of the pasta.  (About 2 1/3 tablespoons is plenty.)
     Step 7:  Sprinkle a few pinches of a mixture of these minced fresh herbs over the pasta:
     - Italian Parsley
     - chervil
     - oregano
     - thin sliced chives
     *Serve with warm sliced French bread on the side!

     This is a tasty pasta for spring and summer.  The St Agur Cheese and Pernod add rich complimentary flavors! 

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