Nigel’s midweek dinner
Chicken liver and pecorino bucatini
Bring a large, deep pot of water to the boil and salt it generously. While the water comes to the boil, finely grate 200g of pecorino. Trim 400g of chicken livers, then cut them into small lobes about the size of a brazil nut.
Cook 200g of bucatini in the boiling water until tender but firm. A matter of 9 minutes or so. Meanwhile, melt 50g of butter in a frying pan over a moderately high heat, then add the chicken livers and fry for 3 or 4 minutes, turning once they are golden brown on the underside. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Keep the pepper coarse, the flecks should be clearly visible.
Drain the bucatini, tip it back into the pan in which you cooked it, then toss in the chicken livers, their hot butter and then the grated pecorino. Shake the pan
Take care when cooking the livers that they don’t scald you. They have a nasty habit of spluttering in the hot butter. This recipe, simple, frugal and quick, will be improved vastly by generous use of the salt and pepper mills.
The chicken livers could be swapped for mushrooms. Choose the large field or plump chestnut variety, slice them thickly, and fry them in a little more butter than above – they soak it up. To preserve the simplicity of the dish, nothing more than a palmful of tarragon leaves and a twist of pepper is needed to be added as the mushrooms cook. ■