Nigel’s mid­week din­ner

Chicken liver and pecorino bu­ca­tini

The Observer Magazine - - Food & Drink - Pho­to­graph JONATHAN LOVEKIN

The recipe

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 twist

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. ■

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