Spaghetti alla Napoletana
Main course 4 persons
Preparation: about 30 minutes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- olive oil
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- 600 gr. tomatenpulp of passata
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 400 gr. spaghetti
- Pangrattato (see recipe below)
Grilled little gem with butter vinaigrette (beurre noisette vinaigrette)
Preparation: about 10 minutes
- 2-3 little gems
- neutral oil
- 250 gr. butter
- 2 shallots
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
Sprinkle for pasta and/or salad
Preparation: about 15 minutes
- 4 stale sandwiches
- 1 citroen
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
The best cutting technique
Hugo starts today by explaining a cutting technique; “the cat’s claw”. When you want to cut vegetables or lettuce, it is not smart to keep your fingers stretched. If you don’t pay attention for one count, it may just be that you cut off a piece of your fingers with very sharp knives. Not really what you want..
If you want to cut in a controlled manner (and leave your hands whole), the tip is as follows: fold your hand in a kind of cat’s claw. Turn your thumb in and your fingers too. Make sure that your nail bed is on “the product”. In this way you feel the knife coming and you push your hand further and further away with the knife. That way you can’t cut into it and work hard.
Mise-en-place (prepare and cut)
So, and then get to work! You start by cutting all the vegetables. Chop the parsley small (immediately use the new cutting technique) and the garlic into coarse pieces (slices and then halve again).
TIP: Hugo makes a double portion today, because he uses half tomorrow in another dish.
Then pour a dash of oil in a casserole and briefly fry the garlic in it. Add some salt to prevent the garlic from burning. Add a teaspoon of chili flakes and the tomato paste and stir everything together (a minute). Finally, all tomato pulp can also be put in the pan.
Let it simmer on the fire for a while.
Little Gem/Romaine lettuce on the grill!
The “Little Gems” (also called small heads of Romaine lettuce) are prepared with the pasta. You can bake these heads very nicely and even grill them on the BBQ. Today Hugo grills them in the pan.
Cut the heads -lengthwise- in the middle and brush them with a little oil on all sides with a brush. They don’t have to be in the grill for very long because you can eat lettuce raw. It’s really about the grill marks and “caramelizing” the oil.
Hazelnut butter maken vinaigrette
Hmm, that may sound complicated, but don’t panic, you can do this too! It is a dressing of vinegar, oil and melted butter. No more!
Take a large lump of butter, divide it in 2 and cut one of the two parts into cubes. Place the cubes in a pan.
Then finely chop a shallot and place it in a bowl. Add some (coarse) mustard, oil and a little lemon juice and mix with a whisk. Leave this for a while. We’re going to melt the butter in a minute and you’ll add it later.
Finally, Hugo makes a pangrattato. It also sounds deliciously “fancy”, but it is -very simple- toasted bread.
What do you do: take a food processor, put 4 slices of white bread in it with some grated lemon zest and mix it into coarse pieces. Then fry it in oil until it is really nice dark brown.
Add some garlic to the pan while cooking, but don’t cut it. Hugo takes 2 garlic cloves, which he only “bruises” for a while by pushing them with a knife. You can put this -with skin and all- between the bread. This way the garlic does not burn, but the flavors are released in the oil.
Meanwhile, the butter pieces are allowed to melt in the pan and brown a bit. Also put on the even pasta!
Almost! Finish everything and then you’re done. When the pasta is completely good, you can stir it through the sauce. It is now a nice dark red in color and has been able to move in for a while.
What you have to pay attention to is that the pasta and the sauce are in proportion. 50/50 it should be. There may be a nice layer of sauce, but originally pasta should not “swim” in sauce.
If all goes well, your toasted bread pieces are ready and it’s time to finish the dressing. The butter is melted and nicely browned. You add this -while beating with a whisk- little by little to the mixture you had already made. The dressing is now lukewarm and will naturally solidify when it gets cold. So this is also your last action. If it does start to solidify, heat everything briefly.
Time to put the pasta on the plates and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and chopped parsley. Hugo serves the vegetables separately so that the flavors do not already mix in the plate. In addition, it also looks nice if you are served several small plates.
So put the “little gem” on a separate plate, put the dressing over it and possibly some breadcrumbs.
Enjoy your meal!