Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dilemmas over Pasta - Resolved

I found myself agonizing over which pasta dish to present for the first Presto Pasta Night of 2011. I wanted to make the Spaghetti with Bottarga, Preserved Lemon & Harissa from Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France by Joan Nathan. I just wrote about the book, which I'm loving. I have the preserved lemons, the harissa and garlic, but not the bottarga.

I bet most of you are wondering exactly what that is. There's a site about it, and in a nutshell it's silver mullet roe that is cured and dried before being coated with wax. You just shave off slivers, apparently. You can order it on line, and if you live in the Mediterranean, you'll probably be able to find some locally. Here in Halifax one has to order from The Italian Market who in turn gets it shipped in from a distributor in Montreal... for the mere price of $55 for a piece (it looks like a sausage) about 8 inches long. Given it might be a little too powerful a marine flavor for us... I decided to opt out. At least until I find a few Haligonians willing to share.

So, after hunting for the elusive bottarga and not finding any, the decision as to which pasta to make was easy. It was also from one of the books my Honey bought me - Donna Hay's Seasons . I love Donna Hay in a different way. Her books and magazine issues are filled with the most stunning photos that set the scene for her recipes, better than a million words. And her dishes are so simple to prepare.

My choice, pictured above is the Roasted Garlic & Ricotta Pasta - she left out of the title all the other awesome ingredients, like kalamata olives, pine nuts, fried oregano leaves, just to mention a few.

I can't wait to see what everyone else dishes up for the first Presto Pasta of the year. You still have time to enter your favorites. Just send your link to ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com by tomorrow morning.

And next week, Claire of Chez Cayenne will be hosting again. You can send your entries to cdmcculloch7 (at)gmail (dot)com and cc me - ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com by January 13th.


bellini valli said...

Your pasta dish is truly delicious Ruth. I was at my local Italian deli and they have a whole new line of amazing pastas which I can't wait to try.

tasteofbeirut said...

I find that pasta is the best when it is paired with a few ingredients; this one with the ricotta and the garlic would be delicious, and right up my alley, flavor-wise.

Joanne said...

This pasta is definitely one I could fall in love with. You had me at roasted garlic and ricotta...but all those other ingredients just add beautifully to the mix!