I knocked out three awesome soups on Monday and this one is probably my favorite; it doesn’t have a clever name yet, but it’s basically a savory bomb of mushroom, rosemary, onion, fennel, and golden potato roasted together in a dutch oven. i can’t stop eating it.
Good Lord. This was so good I could have licked my bowl. I wanted to create a beautiful dish using squid ink pasta and it was important that it taste as spectacular as it looked. Through several evening power walks I pondered how I could create a rich, transparent sauce that wouldn’t cover the pasta’s intense color. I knew that garlic, shallots and wine were a must. After some reading I decided to add clams and their juice, which was the magic ingredient that added depth and complexity. The lemon juice complemented the seafood, and a splash of half and half added richness.
I buy Rustichella brand squid ink spaghetti from Pastaworks, a great, local store here in Portland, Oregon. It’s also available online.
Squid ink pasta with shrimp and minced clams. Serves 4
½ pound squid ink spaghetti (you can substitute squid ink linguini)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 generous pinch red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (6 ounce) can minced clams (drain and reserve clam juice)
½ dry white wine
¼ cup chicken broth
Juice from 1 juicy lemon
¼ cup half and half
¾ pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
A nice handful of chopped, fresh Italian parsley
Cook pasta until al dente.
While pasta’s cooking, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet. Add the minced shallot and sauté until it’s tender, stirring constantly. Add red pepper flakes and garlic. Continue to cook until garlic is fragrant. Add the reserved clam juice and white wine and turn heat to high. Cook for 2-3 minutes until sauce has reduced to half, but no more. Reduce heat and add chicken broth, lemon juice, and half and half. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the shrimp and clams, cover the pan and cook for a minute or two just until the shrimp turn pink. Taste, and season with salt if needed.
Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Add parsley. Toss until pasta is coated with sauce.
Drain spaghetti. Add spaghetti and parsley to sauce and toss until pasta’s coated. Divide between four warm bowls and serve immediately. Serve with a crusty loaf of French bread.
In 2009 I found a recipe in a magazine that completely changed the way I feel about an Italian classic. No more sloppy lasagne, school catering style, this is the sexiest, tastiest, layered pasta dish imaginable.
You can thank me later.
Ingredients (makes large lasagne, for about 6?):
700g minced beef (you could totally use soy mince to make veggie)
700g tomato ragu sauce
200ml stock (whatever you prefer)
2 tbsp fresh thyme
1 chopped onion
3 chopped garlic cloves
Olive oil, salt and pepper
300ml sour cream (this is the magic ingredient)
125g grated gruyère cheese
100g grated parmesan cheese
1. Fry onion in olive oil. Once soft add garlic and fry for another minute or two.
2. Add minced beef and fry until all meat is browned.
3. Add ragu, stock, thyme, salt and pepper, bring to the boil, then cover and let simmer for 20mins.
4. Make your topping by blending cornflour with a little of your milk in a bowl. Then add rest of milk and whisk in the sour cream.
5. Fold in the gruyère.
6. Preheat oven to gas 5/190c.
7. Once meat sauce is ready, spread a layer at bottom of your baking pan, cover with a layer of lasagne sheets, and repeat until no more meat sauce. Make lasagne sheets your final layer then pour on your topping.
8. Spread parmesan all over the top.
9. Cook for 40 mins or until top is golden brown.
Eat immediately, or leave to cool so melted cheese is a bit firmer (my preference).
Enjoy (and tell me this isn’t the greatest lasagne you’ve ever eaten!)