Wednesday, April 04, 2012

If you must break the silence ... make it


Adding an egg yolk & pasta water w/starch to your sauce.


ps: Please make sure you mix some finely grated cheese into your mixed egg yolk ...

Then slowly add the starchy pasta water.

Of course, if you're an aficionado, you you know this is the secret to amazing Spaghetti alla Corbonara .. (not to mention the prosciutto) ...

Tonight I made (a modified version of) Ditali with Asparagus (from one of my favorite books "Pasta Harvest" by Janet Fletcher).

  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds thick asparagus spears
  • 1 pound dried ditali ("thimbles") or cannetroni (I used smaller Ditalini by Barilla)
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter, in pieces
  • 1 egg yolk beaten* (this isn't in Janet's recipe)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock* ( (this isn't in Janet's recipe - and I just added 1 ice cube of frozen chicken stock)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used Raspberry BellaVitano - a type of Parmesan)
  • Salt & Freshly ground black pepper
  • Bring large pot of salted water to boil.
  • While waiting for water to boil
  • Hold asparagus spears in both hands, bend gently until it breaks naturally at the point which the spear becomes tough. Repeat with remaining spears. Discard tough ends (duh).
  • Cut spears crosswise into slices 1/3 inch thick, about the same length as the ditali.
  • *Separate egg yolk from white in a small bowl (not in Janet's recipe)
  • Grate cheese - and add about 1/4 cup to the egg, mix well
  • When water boils, add ditali* (Janet's recipe indicates adding the  asparagus first - then adding the pasta - but my  asparagus wasn't thick enough to need to cook for more than 3 minutes)
  • Before pasta is al dente - add asparagus (for me it was at 3 minutes left of the 10 minute pasta cook time)
  • Cook until pasta is al dente and asparagus is still crisp tender
  • Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water - and add chicken stock to it 
  • Drain pasta and asparagus 
  • Add butter to (now empty) cooking pan - dump in pasta/asparagus combo
  • Stir a few time to melt butter - then dump in yolk/cheese mixture and stir
  • Season w/kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Add pasta water/chicken stock (about 1 tbs at a time) and stir a lot so starch/yolk/cheese make a yummy sauce. More stirring = more starch - and better sauce)
  • Serve immediately on warm dishes
  • Top w/some more freshly grated cheese
Seriously good.

ps: this is also a serious indication of how I can take something simple (Janet's recipe has 2 (long steps) and turn it into how to make a watch, instead of how to tell time (I have 17 steps)


mamie said...

You're back! <3

Ally said...

Good gravy boat, where in tarnation have you been??

I am diggin' this recipe. It sounds yummy for my tummy!!