The Hospices de Beaune, also known as ‘Hotel-Dieu’ was founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, the chancellor to the then Duke of Burgundy, ‘Phillipe le Bon’, and his wife Guigone de Salins, as a free hospital and refuge for the poor.
This was unique at this time as Rolin set out to make the building aesthetically beautiful on the inside and out, using the distinctive polychrome tiles that the region is famous for on the magnificent roof of the building.
He also had revolutionary ideas on standards of cleanliness and the provision of fresh food and drinking water from the hospices own well and well equipped kitchens. And he founded a training school for local women of good repute to nurse the patients and assist in the pharmacy where all the medicines were prepared, forming the religious order ‘Les soeurs Hospitialieres de Beaune’, who cared for patients here as late as the 1970’s.
Regular followers will know that I have the same ethos as Nicolas Rolin and like to prepare everything seasonal and fresh. So as the tomatoes and courgettes have begun to ripen, here is a simple little dish using them and my own freshly made pesto (see below), and fresh pasta. Just right for these long hot summer days as a light lunch.
2 generous handfuls of fresh tagliatelle per person (I used shop bought, but as soon as I have a proper kitchen, I plan to make my own, so watch this space)
1 tablespoon of fresh pesto
1 table spoon of good quality olive oil, plus extra for cooking
half a courgette diced
2 tomatoes diced
A handful of pine nuts
A little garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper and dried crushed chilli flakes
Sauté the courgettes for5 minutes until beginning to soften
Add the tomatoes and cook over a gentle heat for around 10 minutes until both are slightly caramelised
Add the pine nuts and season with garlic salt and black pepper and reduce heat until pasta is ready
Cook the pasta in boiling slightly salted water for 10 minutes while the tomatoes are cooking
Mix the pesto and olive oil in a basin and pour over the cooked drained pasta and stir to coat.
Serve the pasta and top with the vegetable mix, very lightly sprinkle with the chilli flakes and serve immediately.
I do not put parmesan with this dish as I think theses flavours stand up alone, but experiment and see what you think.
50 gm of pine nuts
50 gm of freshly grated parmesan cheese
A large bunch of fresh basil
1 large clove of garlic
3 tablespoons of olive oil + extra for storage
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
Lightly toast the pine nuts and leave to cool
Put the cooled pine nuts, parmesan and basil in a food processor and blend for 20 seconds son the slowest speed
Add the olive oil a tablespoon at a time, checking the consistency
Add a little salt and pepper to taste
What you do not use, can be stored in the fridge in a sealed jar, covered in a little extra oil and kept up to two weeks.
To make a lighter sauce for pasta, the pesto can be mixed with crème fraiche, to give a milder flavour and a more fluid consistency.