Over a long and excellent dinner last August, Dino Joannides relayed a recipe from the great Italian chef Roberto Pisano for Spaghetti con bottarga a secco, or Spaghetti with dried mullet roe. At the time I was fascinated by the method and the strict way it should be carried out, and although I vowed to try it I was unsuccessful in finding anywhere locally and the idea kind of fell by the wayside.
However, after the One night in London dinner last week I suddenly found myself in possession of a nice lobe of some of the best bottarga available from the Melograno Deli, weighing about 120g. Excitedly, I brought it home and over the weekend I set about making this dish.
I asked Dino if he could send me the recipe, but he insisted on a phone call to ensure I understood the . . . →Spaghetti con bottarga a secco
This is a scaled down version of Elizabeth David’s recipe; scaled down because hers requires 7 kinds of meat, including calf’s brain which I actually had but wife banned me from putting it in diner. Modification number 2 was because I had a glut of ceps, you can replace them with portabella mushrooms or leave them out entirely.
In any case; the addition of ceps adds to the richness of what is already a very rich Bolognese dish, I served mine as a starter but you can easily make it a main course for 2 – 4 people.
For the filling
1 chicken breast 200g pork belly 75g parma ham Half glass white wine 1 large cep, cleaned and roughly chopped 75g grated parmesan 2 eggs Salt, pepper, nutmeg
For the pasta
400g fine semolina flour 4 eggs Salt
Roughly chop the chicken and pork and fry in a little oil until well browned. Add the mushrooms and . . . →Tortellini Bolognese
The quail I bought for this dish is currently sitting in the fridge at work quietly decomposing, so unfortunately I have had to substitute it with chicken. Still a delicious dinner, and I think this recipe is particularly interesting since the Mezzalune are fried rather than boiled.
250g Italian ’00′flour 4 egg yolks Salt 2 tbs good olive oil A little water Filling
2 chicken breasts cut into chunks (or indeed the meat of 3 quail) 80g cured Italian pork products (I used Capicola) 150g ricotta The zest of one lemon A handful of chopped flat leaf parsley 50g grated parmesan
Note; I used 4 egg yolks for the pasta, this is a little decadent unless you have loads left over from making macarons, which I did. You can also use 2 whole eggs and a little water to help bind it together.
To make the pasta dough; combine the flour, eggs, oil . . . →“Quail” Mezzalune
Filling pasta with delicious things is one of the most rewarding activities one can engage in. But crafting each one by hand is infinitely better than making trays of regimented identical squares that may as well have come from a packet or worse; a tin.
I’ve been making ravioli and other filled pasta for 4 or 5 years; it takes some practise but it’s totally worth it when you get to bite into a perfectly sealed envelope of mushrooms or ham or cheese. This recipe is for wild mushroom filled ravioli and/or tortellini but obviously you can fill them with whatever tastes good.
500g wild mushrooms (I used a mixture of Chanterelles and Pied-de-mouton) Half a leek finely chopped 2 cloves of garlic 2 thick slices of pancetta cut into small cubes Flat leaf parsley About 200g grated well flavoured but not too strong cheese (I use gruyere for the filling, or pecorino at a push) 2 slices of . . . →Hand made Ravioli / Tortellini