Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fettucini with Bottarga, artichoke hearts and grouper

I went to Rome at the start of June this year, and apart from friends and sightseeing, of course food was a huge part of it! :)

Went out one night to Via del Portico d'Ottavia, to a Kosher restaurant in the old Jewish Ghetto. Their speciality is fried things, and our starters were amazing!

Had zucchini flowers filled with fish, in batter, as well as other random and delicious fried veggies... nom!

My main course was fish (grouper) and zucchini flower pasta, however someone else had egg pasta with artichoke hearts and bottarga.. and it sounded amazing! Inspired by this, I thought i'd make egg pasta with grouper, bottarga and artichoke hearts (The artichoke hearts were lovingly collected by my parents when they were in season, then frozen in batches to make awesome pasta and risotto - respek!)

Found some nice fresh grouper steaks - 2 were plenty for a pasta dish for 4 - they are a little pricey and really you can use any nice white fish, but Grouper (or Cerna in Maltese) is awesome. so milky and delicious! :D

must say, it did look better before i stirred it in.  but the taste was sublime!

Bottarga is cured mullet or tuna roe, I got mullet (which as far as i know is the original one). It's pretty amazing, fishy yet delicious, and a little goes a LONG way. Ideally realyl thinly sliced or grated - mine was on the soft side so i sliced then chopped it. It's used like truffles, to dress a dish at the end.

Apparently, just like truffles, bottarga is really aided by the use of Pasta Al'uovo - hence why i used it :)

1 pack egg pasta (i used fettucini)
2 grouper (or any nice firm white fish) fillets
garlic, about 5 cloves, chopped.
Extra virgin olive oil
about 200g artichoke hearts (cooked, fresh and chopped)
a dash of dry white wine.
bottarga, about an inch, sliced finely or grated.
flat leaf parsley, chopped.
1 or 2 lemons

Cook the grouper. Either place into baking paper and foil and season it with lemon, salt and pepper and "poach" in a hot oven for 20 min OR just season with pepper, salt, and fry the steaks until nice and golden :) Set aside, break it into chunks, being careful to remove any bones. Keep warm (but careful that they don't dry out!)

Put a large pot of water to the boil.

In the meantime cook garlic on a low heat in some olive oil. No need to use a lot, you will be adding more to this dish at the end (raw).

when the garlic is soft (do not let it get brown!!) add the artichoke hearts and a dash of wine. stir until heated through, allow to simmer for a few minutes.

In the meantime, salt the water well, and throw the pasta in (i used about 400 g for 4 people).

If the artichoke sauce is getting dry, just add a ladle of the pasta water, keep simmering...

Once the pasta is 2 minutes from done, reserve a cup of the liquid and drain the rest, adding the pasta to the frypan with the artichokes. Add enough liquid to keep the pasta cooking, but don't add too much. When it's done, add a large handful of chopped fresh parsley and stir around.

Serve it into a bowl, adding the chunks of fish and a nice sprinkling of bottarga. Dress with some extra virgin oil, and serve!

I forgot to take a pic before i stirred it in. Doesn't look so wonderful but omg it was delicious! :D

This was really quick to make by the way. the only thing that might prevent one from doing it regularly is the lack of supply of non-canned artichoke hearts!


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