Understandably, pasta doesn’t sound very authentic to the Tudor era, but in fact it was. Remember this is the golden age for trade and travel in English history so exotic things like pasta that could be transported dried were in great demand. And though we nmow think of watercress as a summer salad , it was widely used as a medicinal herb for hair loss as well as to clear headaches and to dry out sinuses post having a cold. We found several references of Tudor inspiration for this summer dish which can be eaten hot or cold. And we hope you will enjoy it asa fresh new alternative to your basil pesto pasta. -Matt Miller
200g dried pasta shapes
400g watercress, finely chopped
Pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes
3-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Large bunch fresh mint
100g pinenuts toasted
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Parmesan to serve
Place watercress, the salt flakes and 3 tablespoons olive oil in a jug & using a stick blender, whizz to a smooth pesto type mixture. Add more olive oil if needed.
Using a peeler, peel thin strips of courgette. Roughly tear the mint leaves into smaller pieces.
Cook the pasta as directed by the packet or until al dente. Drain and pour into a serving bowl. Pour in the watercress pesto, the courgette strips, pine nuts and the mint leaves and toss until mixed. Sprinkle over the lemon zest, mix in some lemon juice and grate over some parmesan. Season with salt and pepper
Our Tudor inspiration:
Watercress potage is a good remedy to cleanse the blood in the spring and help headaches and consume the gross humours winter has left behind . Those who would live in health matt make use of this . If fancy not pottage they may eat the herb as a salad. - the Compleat Herball 1653 by Culpepper