In Italy, not surprisingly, the book “Code of Pasta” is hugely popular. The Mediterranean country boasts an infinite number of pasta dishes.
“Ingredients that are in season at the same time go well together,” says Italian cuisine chef Kuniaki Arima, who chose octopus and eggplant to go with short pasta. A key to the recipe is careful preparation of the sauce, since “sauce with a clear flavor keeps one from using too much salt and oil,” he says. Serves two.
160 grams penne (short pasta)
100 grams boiled octopus
5 cm celery
4 cherry tomatoes
4 Tbsp bread crumbs
1 tsp fish sauce (gyosho), 50 cc white wine, 1/2 tsp wine vinegar
Sugar, olive oil, garlic, red chili pepper, Italian parsley, oregano, green yuzu fruit if available
To make stir-fried bread crumbs, place bread crumbs, chopped garlic and sprinkle of salt in small pan, add olive oil slowly and stir fry until golden. Spread and cool.
Bring plenty of water (add 10 grams of salt per liter) to a boil.
Cut onion and celery into 8-mm dices. Cut eggplant into 1-cm dices. Cut cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise. Crush small clove garlic and chop. Cut octopus in 1.5-cm dices. Start cooking penne.
Place frying pan with 2 Tbsp olive oil and garlic over low heat and cook slowly. Add onion and celery, turn gas up and stir fry.
When onion becomes transparent, tilt pan and pour fish sauce in hot oil to remove smell and enhance aroma. Add eggplant.
When somewhat golden, add octopus, wine, vinegar and bit of sugar. When sauce is reduced to half, add chili pepper, tomatoes, oregano and cook until tomatoes are slightly soft.
Add cooking water of pasta if sauce boils down too much.
Add penne and turn off heat. Add chopped parsley and bit of olive oil. Serve, sprinkle with bread crumbs and green yuzu zest.
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From The Asahi Shimbun's Kashikoi Okazu column
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