When Blood Orange Juice Visits the Saturday Night Dinner Table
So back to my theme of different. I had not cooked pasta in few days, so the fan club was definitely in the mood for some. But what kind should I make ? Fresh , dry , stuffed, fried ? As I strolled the aisles, I was first tempted by the some large packages of rottelle-like dry pasta. That would have required a nice tomato sauce, and lots of it too. But tomato sauce was something too predictable for today's feast. Remember , I said different ?
So I searched and searched until I came cross something very different. I came across a section where buckwheat pasta was being displayed. I am told that kind of pasta, is quite popular in the Alps region. It looked very different and that really intrigued me. I've used buckwheat based pasta products many times. Often I have cooked with Korean buckwheat vermicelli that worked wonders with some fresh tomato sauces. Talk about East meets West.
As I scanned the top shelving, my eyes caught a glimpse a something new. The pizzoccheri really stood out. This pasta looks like tagliatelle, but they are cut very short, about 2-3 inches in length. So one ingredient down, several more to go before we could declare that we had a what we needed to make dinner. Not sure if this pasta contains any egg, they might , but in very small quantity. I am not a big fan, of egg pastas. I will cook it , but usually do not appreciate the aroma, once it is cooked.
Next came the sauce. As I browsed the shelves, I came across a quick recipe for dressing ravioli. Was this a Mario Batali, who co-owns Tarry Market, creation or some exotic regional dish ? Not really sure. Regardless, the sauce was contained blood orange juice, the same kind that was sitting right there, frozen, in the freezer below the sign.
So , I decided to pick up a quart of the Sicilian blood orange juice. Pasta with hints of orange . Now that was different, very different. Folks, this was the secret ingredient , It can not be substituted so if you can not find it , forget about making this dish. Caveat ! Caveat ! You've been warned.
To ensure that sauce was able to bind well with the pasta, I decided to add an element of cream. Rather than use heavy cream, I instead opted for a some bufala ricotta , a little less than 1 cup of it.
Pizzocheri in Blood Orange Ricotta Sauce
1/3 cup of blood orange juice (imported from Sicily)
4 tablespoon of rich unsalted Irish butter
1/2 cup of Bufalo ricotta cheese
1 cup of pasta water (retained from cooking)
3 tablespoons of freshly grated orange zest
1 tablespoon of dry thyme
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
EVOO , S/P
While you are preparing to make the pasta , this very fast sauce can be made in parallel.
In a pan, melt butter over low heat. Add the grated orange zest, a pinch of salt. Also , mix in some EVOO. Cook for a few minutes continuing over load heat. Add ricotta cheese, and soften with some of the warm , and starchy pasta water.
|Pizzoccheri with a Creamy Blood Orange Sauce|
Toss the Pizzoccheri with the sauce and make sure to serve piping hot. Top with a a hint of coarsely grated Parmigiano reggiano.
I completed the dinner spread with two shrimp dishes. One was an Asian inspired Shrimp with broccoli , and the other was some shelled shrimp cooked in a light blood orange juice sauce. This was a really bit hit. Too bad, I did not capture a picture The fan club gobbled that one up faster than I could prepare to capture it on film , correction , SD memory.
To make the dish clean some shrimp removing shells and veins. Saute' the shrimp in some EVOO, garlic, pinch of S/P, and old bay seasoning, fresh chili pepper. Over high heat, add an abundant splash of blood orange juice. Do not overcook the shrimp,
Almost, forgot , the blood orange juice, makes a great cocktail. Juice, crushed ice and a double shot of reposada tequila. It won't let you down.
Folks, stay tuned. Tomorrow is picnic day! That means lots of creative salad making.
Alla salute !