Spooked by the Weather and a Spring Pasta.

Two weeks ago I was whingeing about the cold, lack lustre Spring weather here in Melbourne. Today, as the mid afternoon temperature hits 35°C/95 °F, with a wind speed of over 50kph, I take this all back.

It’s October 6 and the seasonal warnings are ominous. The morning radio warned of a Godzilla El Nino year, and the CFA (Country Fire Authority) has seen plenty of action today. Small grass fires are appearing around the State, some escalating into emergencies. The air smells of smoke: the sky is a strange colour: it is not yet mid Spring.

Below is a screen capture of the radar of the smoke pattern from the fires today.

Displaying Screenshot_2015-10-06-15-29-58.png

3pm and the sky is pink and ashen
Early afternoon sky, pink and ashen.

A few hot days in a row also sees the Spring herbal abundance bolt to the sky. The seeds of these bolters don’t set until summer and then it’s a little too late and too hot for them to germinate. I’m working my way through the tasty greens and will need to sow parsley, dill and silverbeet on the next wet day, greens that are our summer mainstays.

Today’s pasta recipe, before I became totally spooked by the weather.

orecchiette, dill psto and
orecchiette, dill pesto and ricotta

Orecchiette con Aneta e Ricotta/ Orecchiette with dill and ricotta.

For 4 as a light lunch.

First make the sauce in a food processor

  • one large bunch freshly picked dill, woody stems removed
  • two garlic cloves
  • one handful pine nuts
  • 1/2 teas sea salt flakes
  • extra virgin olive oil to mix
  • 100 gr ricotta.

Add all the dill, garlic, nuts and salt to a food processor and process well, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add the oil slowly to the dill mixture and process until the mixture resembles pesto. Then mix in the ricotta, process to barely mix. Taste for salt.

Then

  • Cook 300-400 gr orecchiette pasta according to packet instructions.
  •  Drain. In a warm mixing bowl, mix the pasta and enough of the herbal sauce to coat well.
  •  Plate. As this is a mild tasting dish, you may wish to add parmigiana cheese at the table.

Note. By omitting the ricotta, the dill ‘pesto’ makes a lovely sauce for grilled fish or chicken, or could stirred through a pile of cooked white cannelloni or borlotti beans (fagioli scritti).

39 thoughts on “Spooked by the Weather and a Spring Pasta.”

  1. Lordy, I can well imagine that this weather would spook you, Francesca… it’s much like that here in Canberra too… very hot and windy… the hottest October on record… love you pasta recipe xx

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  2. As I write this the danger of hot windy weather has passed and the temperature has plummeted to about 20 degs C – it’s very nice outside now! I am going to try this dill pasta recipe for sure Francesca. I don’t own a food processor at present but am buying one this week – probably a Breville. This should make my life easier :):) as I do cook a lot. Thanks.

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        1. I use the slicing attachment quite a lot- for finely slicing potatoes, and mostly for large quantities of onions, for caramelised onion, which then lasts well in the fridge.

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  3. My sister has a vineyard and winery near Mt Macedon and they have been evacuated because of fire. I am with her in Stockholm right now at a wine show. We have just heard that the wind direction has changed and they will be OK, but it is a bit scary to start the season with fires. It was apparently caused by controlled burning gone wrong.

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    1. Those strong gusty winds spook everyone. For those living in fire areas, they are reminders , not only of bushfire disaster, but of the need to get organised. Still lots of dry leaf litter lying about here. only needs a spark. Time to work on it all.

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  4. Ah, I hate those skies. Gives me the heeby jeebies. Two days of 37 degrees heat here but not much wind thank goodness. Still waiting for the cool change. Glad to hear some cool winds have prevailed your way. We who live near bush can’t help but feel nervous at such early hot days, let’s hope it doesn’t continue. Now to the food, dill is the one herb I have never used in a ‘pesto’ type sauce. Looks and sounds delish. I have bookmarked this and will trying very soon. Thanks Francesca. ☺️

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  5. Strange weather indeed Francesca. We have gone from heaters to the air-conditioning and back again. Take care with those fires around. That pasta looks delicious. I am growing dill but I don’t really know what to do with it. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  6. What a delicious sounding recipe! I was introduced to orecchiette while in Puglia this last June during a cooking class. These “little ears” pasta are so much fun to make. I hope the fires subside and you get a refreshing dose of fresh rain.

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  7. Orecchiette is one of my favourite pasta’s. I love the denser texture.
    I’m pleased it’s cooled off… my senses over those hot few days felt a bit twitchy… and it wasn’t just the wind and the pollen 😉

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  8. We arrived in Melbourne the day after the record breaking heat, and it was windy and rather fresh! It is a crazy start to summer. I would love to grow dill but it’s just the wrong climate here. I can barely even buy it in the grocery here, only occasionally, so I seldom plan to use it in a recipe. Yours sounds nice, though. Orchietti have he cute factor going for them too.

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  9. Weather has been weird and wonderful in NZ as well. Either incredibly hot or bitterly cold. If it is not blowing a gale from the North West – its blowing up from Antarctica. We do not suffer the horrific bush fires that Australia does – but this month we have had dozens of them. If I was a doomsdayer, I would have plenty to write about – instead I just might check out that pasta recipe – looks truly scrumptious!

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