Last time I was at Florentino’s Cellar Bar, which was on a cold, wet Friday night years ago (the review is somewhere in this weblog), I had a robust dish of pasta tossed through with black pudding and pine nuts. It was very good. But you have to like black pudding.
(The Cellar Bar is a cafe-society style dining room where there is no artifice, Italian cafe traditions endure, the food is robust, and old-fashioned gingham lives on.)
I’ve replicated that dish, with variations, many times since. Here's its latest incarnation.
Rigatoni with black pudding, broad beans and roasted tomatoes.
Drizzle some olive oil and shake some cracked pepper and salt over two dozen cherry tomatoes - or other miniature variety - and roast them until they collapse.
Slice black pudding into rounds about the size of a ten cent piece (use smooth black pudding rather than the Scottish type which is flecked with oats) and fry on both sides until slightly crisp.
Pod and peel a bowlful of broad beans. Fry half a finely chopped leek in olive oil until soft; add some butter, a scored clove of garlic, the beans and a sage leaf. Stir to coat the beans. Cook gently until the beans are warm and soft.
Drain the pasta and fold through the leek and bean mixture, then add the roasted tomatoes and top with the crisp black pudding. Don’t tell your guests what black pudding is made from and they will rave about it.
Serve it on gingham.