Monday, November 14, 2011

Rainbow Pasta

I don't really know what to call this dish, but it's pretty colorful so terming it with the description of "rainbow" might fit the bill.

2 tomatoes
3 slices of pancetta
1/2 yellow pepper
1/4 sweet onion
1 zucchini
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon butter
6 oz. wide egg noodles (or whatever pasta you prefer)
3/4 cup chicken stock
pinch of curry
2 pinches of paprika
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

I started with the tomatoes. I got a pot of water boiling on the stove (big enough for the tomatoes and to later use for the pasta). I scored the bottom of the tomatoes with an 'X' to make peeling the skin easier.
I dropped them into the boiling water for 1 minute. Since they're buoyant, I babysat them and flipped them over every once in a while with a spoon to make sure they were getting blanched evenly.

After a minute, I pulled the tomatoes out of the boiling water and put them straight into a bowl of icy cold water to shock them and stop the cooking process.
Once they were cooled, I peeled off the skins. The 'X' scored on the bottom was a lot of help (as you can see).
Then I cut the tomatoes in half across the "equator." If you cut it longitudinally, it'll make seeding the tomatoes impossible.
I squeeze the tomatoes (over the sink) to get the seeds and juices out. Some people save the juices to make tomato water but I just tossed it.
Chopped up the tomatoes.
Next, I prepared the rest of the vegetables.
Chopped up the yellow pepper (same size as the tomatoes).
The zucchini I cut in half (the short way) and then sliced into thin pieces.
Chopped up the onion (same size as the tomatoes and peppers)
And I sliced the garlic thinly.
Once I was done with all of the veggies, I cut up the pancetta. I cut it in half and then sliced it up into little pieces.
Meanwhile, I got the chicken stock, curry, and paprika in a saucepan to heat up, got the pasta into boiling water, and put some butter in a pan.
I added the pancetta to the pan and got them to render some fat and let them crisp up.
Once the pancetta was done, I got it out of the pan and let them drain on a paper towel, so they'd stay crisp.
I added the vegetables to the rendered fat and let them saute. Once they got a bit of color, I added a little salt and pepper. Be careful with the salt since the chicken stock, parmesan, and pancetta are all salty.
Once the pasta was almost done (just shy of al dente) I drained the noodles and then tempered the egg yolk with a bit of the hot stock (1/4 cup or so). This step is crucial so that the eggs don't scramble once you add them to the hot pot. Once the yolk was tempered, I added the yolk minxture to the remaining stock and whisked it, quickly so the egg wouldn't have a chance to scramble.
I added the drained pasta to the pan.
Then I poured in the stock and yolk mixture into the pasta and tossed it all together. The yolk helps make a creamy, rich sauce.
Then I added in the cheese.
Then I tossed in the tomatoes and then the pancetta. I like the tomatoes to stay a bit firm, and that's why I leave them to the last step. And the pancetta won't stay crisp if you let them sit in the pasta too long, so it's a good idea to leave them to the v. last minute.
To accompany the meal, I pan fried some flounder fillets in a bit of butter.
I cooked the fish until it was a little underdone before pulling them from the pan. The residual heat finished cooking the fillets so they were done perfectly.
 Serve with the pasta!
Bon appetit.

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