On August 22nd 2014, Slow Food Cocagne Acadie presented the Italy in Acadie Dinner. The culinary event served also as a fundraiser to support the Acadian and New Brunswick delegation to the International Conference Terra Madre in Turin, Italy. The five-course meal, inspired by Italian cuisine, was prepared with local products from the Maritimes.
- One sheet of lasagne pasta folded on itself;
- Layered in between is roasted butternut squash;
- Sprinkled with green peas, Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley;
- Drizzled with Brown Butter Sage Sauce.
We made our pasta from scratch for this dinner. Our goal was to deliver an authentic Italian experience to our guest. We also wanted to experience making pasta from scratch.
We used Organic Kamut Flour from Speerville Flour Mill based in New Brunswick. They happily donated their flour for our dinner-fundraiser. Their flour adds a pleasant artisanal taste to the pasta. Not grainy like whole-wheat pasta, neither bland like regular flour based pastas.
We also added fresh herbs and flowers to create a pretty stained-glass effect.
There are plenty of good tutorials on making pasta from scratch. I recommend following Jamie Oliver’s Cook with Jamie book. The tutorial is also available on his website, but it has less pictures. This recipe was also inspired from his book.
As for the other fresh ingredients, finding local products in not always an easy task. Most people are aware of the benefits of buying local, but many don’t know where to go beyond their weekly visit to the farmers’ market. Finding out who sells what where, and if the produce is in season in the area, is a great deal of information that is not always easily available.
Fortunately, some organisations are aware of this challenge and have addressed in a no non-sense way.
Really Local Harvest is an agricultural cooperative in South Eastern New Brunswick. Their mission is to promote the development of sustainable agriculture in the area. Their comprehensive online tool, the Harvest Calendar, conveniently answers who sells what where depending on what produce is in season.
Here is walkthrough on how to use it. On the Really Local Harvest website, the Harvest Calendar is at the top of page. Once in the Harvest Calendar, you can see what product is in season throughout the year.
For example, if I wanted to find local butternut squash for this delicious recipe, I could go straight to the Harvest Calendar. Under Pumpkins, squash and gourds, I can see that the season runs roughly from mid-September to mid-November. Then, click Pumpkins, squash and gourds to see which producers sell squash in the area. By then clicking on the producer, you get to see where they’re located (address and Google maps integrated) and their contact information.
This tool played an important role throughout our whole planning process for the Italy in Acadie Supper. We designed the recipes around what was available locally and we met with each producer.
Really Local Harvest does plenty of amazing things. They’ve recently been recognized by the Food Tank as one of 10 Projects Improving Canada’s Food System. I must say, being part of the Slow Food in Canada network has its perks. I knew personally most of the people driving these projects in this article… I’m very proud of them.
- ½ teaspoon (3 ml) of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 small dried red chilli
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed into large chunks
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of butter
- ½ cup (125 ml) of green peas
- Fromage Parmesan
- Lasagne Pasta
- Brown Butter Sauce: http://eclectiqueeats.com/sage-brown-butter-sauce/
- Preheat oven to 400 °F (200 °C.)
- Toss the butternut squash in olive oil and add the nutmeg, dried red chilli, salt and pepper. Put the squash in a pan and cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 40 minutes until soft.
- When your squash is almost done baking, cook your dried (or fresh) pasta according to box directions. Also start cooking the green peas.
- Once your squash is done baking, add the butter to it and mash it. Adjust seasoning.
- Fold the pasta on itself and layer the squash in between. Sprinkle with green peas and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with Brown Butter Sauce.