Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Squid Ink Linguine with Nduja and Shrimp

Squid Ink Linguine with Nduja and Shrimp

This month's bon appétit has on the cover a gorgeous Marcus Nilsson photo of a gorgeous plate of squid ink spaghetti with nduja and shrimp. I am so not one to steal a recipe out of a magazine: magazine recipes seldom intrigue me enough to want to cook them. Borrow, sure, I borrow ideas from all kinds of sources, but cook a recipe basically as-is? Never happens. But I was really struck by the cover photo and so I decided to make it more or less as-is.

You know nduja don't you? It's a Calabrese soft salame that seems like a mash-up of rillettes and pepperoni, seasoned with fiery Calabrese chile peppers. What's not to love? After many years in obscurity, it is slowly moving into the hipster spotlight and I hate that one of my favorite foods is headed for trendiness. And I'm also kicking myself: "Why didn't I think of using it in pasta sauce?"

Now my photo doesn't look at all good compared to the cover photo, but then I didn't have a food stylist artfully arranging six strands of pasta on a plate, a $4000 camera, and all kinds of nice light boxes and reflectors. Can you imagine if I had artfully arranged six strands of pasta on a plate? My Italian wife would have been screaming, "Where's the pasta?"

I did add a tablespoon of sambal oelek to the dish because there wasn't enough spice in the nduja for my liking. And next time, well, there's no next time. The shrimp for me didn't add much of anything, nor did the squid ink pasta. Blindfolded, it's just pasta. But, I will rip off the nduja in tomato sauce trick again and again.

I can see it now: nduja tomato sauce, grilled eggplant, fresh basil, and ricotta salata on pasta. That's where I am heading next time. Borrowing, but not stealing.

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