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11th February
written by Steph
Steph's Take on Taryn's Jamie Oliver Parsnip Pasta

Steph's Take on Taryn's Jamie Oliver Parsnip Pasta

OK, here’s the thing: my friend Taryn has two Jamie O. pasta dishes that feature pretty prominently in her “cooking for company” repertoire.  The thing is, I think that over the years, I’ve slowly begun to amalgamate these two dishes, so that I’m no longer sure which ingredients belong in each dish independently.  Instead, I just chuck a bunch of things into a pan and call it a night.  A delicious night, but one that might differ significantly from what you’d get if Taryn were cooking.  So really, I guess this is Steph’s Take on Taryn’s Jamie Oliver Parsnip Pasta… But fear not!  Taryn is likely to comment on this post and point out all the ways in which I’m steering you wrong.  For what it’s worth, however, the way I made this dish was perfectly delicious so you could follow my directions and still be successful! So, parsnips in pasta.  You’ve probably never thought to do that, right?  Well, you really should try it because it’s really quite yummy.  Also, as is my M.O. when it comes to cooking, this recipe comes together really quickly, and is perfect for a weeknight meal. Ingredients (for 2 generous portions) •    2 – 3 Italian sausages, casings removed •    1 – 2 parsnips, peeled and thinly shaved •    6+ mushrooms, thinly sliced •    1 tbsp olive oil •    2 tbsp butter •    salt & pepper •    good quality flat “tangly” pasta (e.g., fettuccine or tagliatelle) •    grated parmesan or romano cheese, for garnish •    sprigs of parsley, for garnish (optional) Method 1.    Place pot of salted water on high heat and bring to boil.  Concurrently, heat your your olive oil and half your butter on medium-high heat in a large pan. 2.    While everything is warming, take the meat that you’ve removed from the sausage casing (just split the casing with a knife and pull it all out) and roll the sausage meat into small balls (about ½ inch meatballs).  Place in your now pre-heated pan and brown.  Try not to stir the meatballs too often or else they won’t get a nice crispy brown on them. 3.    As your sausage is browning, shave your parsnips.  To do this, remove the outer peel on the parsnips using your vegetable peeler, and then just keep going!  You’ll get thin pieces of parsnip (like large flakes) that will cook up in a flash.  Also, chop up your mushrooms. 4.    Once your water is boiling, place in your pasta.  If you’ve got the fresher high quality kind, you probably will only need about 3 minutes to cook it fully. 5.    While pasta is cooking, add your mushrooms to the pan.  At this point, your sausages should be fully browned (but may not be cooked all the way through… that’s fine, but you do want the outside seared off).  When you’ve got about 90 s left on the pasta, add in your parsnip.  You might also want to add a little bit more olive oil, as the mushrooms tend to act like sponges.  Season contents of pan with some salt a pepper. 6.    After draining your pasta (and giving it a good shake to get as much water off of it as possible), dump it into the pan alongside the sausage, mushrooms, & parsnip.  Add the remaining butter and mix everything together really well so that the melted butter coats the pasta. 7.    Garnish with cheese & parsley (if using), and serve!
It might be a bastardization, but it sure is yummy...

It might be a bastardization, but it sure is yummy...

I think in this dish Taryn often uses pancetta instead of sausage, in which case I would probably forgo mushrooms and just do a parsnip & pancetta (or bacon) combo.  I didn’t use parsley as garnish this time round, but I do think some freshly chopped sprigs would really add a nice flavor dimension, provided you have them on hand.  If not, don’t sweat it because this meal will be delicious regardless!  The parsnip adds a really nice sweetness to the dish, and just using butter rather than a thicker sauce really allows the different flavors to shine.  The dish comes together really quickly and isn’t at all finicky, so I’d heartily recommend you give it a shot.  It’s a great way to use up any parsnips you might have leftover from the holiday season (finding a lone parsnip in my crisper drawer was actually the inspiration for my cooking this dish).


  1. 02/11/2009

    I don’t think I have ever tasted a parsnip, unless it was hidden in something else and I didn’t know about it! This recipe sounds interesting. I may just have to give the old parsnip a chance.

  2. 02/11/2009

    I think this would be a good starter recipe for you! I only used one parsnip for myself & Tony and it was sufficient to give a hint of flavor but it was by no means overpowering. You can ramp up the parsnip based on your personal tastes. The parsnip has a rather sweet flavor, sort of like a more interesting carrot (even though it looks like a pale, less interesting carrot). Give it a shot!

  3. Eva

    I love parsnips, but I’m a vegetarian (and currently eating vegan)…I think they have fake meat Italian sausage, so maybe I’ll try it anyway! 🙂

  4. 02/12/2009

    Eva, I think this dish could easily be made with just parsnip & mushrooms, no sausage, if you wanted. In that case, I would probably make sure I added in more parsnips for flavor, and might even add in some walnuts for texture!

  5. joyce

    great recipe! really as simple and delicious as u say! 🙂

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