*Farfalline Zebra Bowties with Uni Cream Sauce and Smoked Salmon Caviar
from Italian Harvest contributor Jeanne Castro-Schmidt
4 oz (1/2 package) Organic Farfalline Zebra Black and White Bowties by Marella
For the Sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp minced yellow onion
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp of fresh oregano or marjoram, chopped very finely
½ cup of sauvignon blanc or sweet vermouth
½ cup home made, unsalted chicken broth or low sodium packaged broth
1/4 tsp Calabrian Ground Hot Pepper (to taste)
¼ tsp dried ground turmeric (for color)
½ cup sea urchin pieces, about 6 oz.*
½ cup butter, cut into small cubes
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp chopped chives or parsley for garnish
For the Smoked Salmon Caviar:
3 Tbsp Salmon Caviar (as fresh as possible)
Scant ¼ tsp liquid smoke
Take a small prep bowl large enough to hold the salmon caviar, and pour in the liquid smoke, swirling the bowl to coat well. Add the caviar and gently roll the eggs in the liquid. Pour off any excess liquid, stir the eggs and cover, letting them marinate in the liquid smoke for 30 minutes.
Bring a pot of heavily salted water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente. While the water is heating, prepare the sauce. Heat a saucepan and add the olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt over the onions to help them sweat. After 2 minutes, add the garlic and oregano or marjoram and stir to combine. Continue cooking for 2-3 more minutes until the garlic is softened, taking care not to burn or discolor the garlic because it will impart a bitter taste in your sauce. Add the wine or vermouth, and the chicken broth. If you are using full strength, salted, ready made broth or bouillon cubes, dilute your broth with water or cream so it has just a subtle level of saltiness. Urchin flavor is delicate therefore you do not want to overwhelm it with too much saltiness.
Turn up the heat to medium high and reduce the liquid by half. Add in the ground pepper and turmeric and stir well to combine. Add in the sea urchin, using a wooden spoon or spatula to break it apart. Add two or three pieces of butter at a time, and whisk into your sauce to incorporate before adding more. When all the butter has been added, taste the sauce. Add salt as needed.
Pour the sauce into a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Keep warm until ready to serve.
When pasta has finished cooking, drain well. Spoon a little sauce into warmed small plates or small bowls, place 5-6 pieces of bowtie pasta in a small mound in the center, and top with a heaping teaspoon of salmon eggs. Garnish with chopped chives or parsley. This dish pairs especially well with an acidic wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.
Makes 6 appetizer servings
*Note: If you are using whole, live urchins, each 5-6 inch shellfish typically provides about ½ to ¾ oz of uni.
*Photo courtesy of Jeanne Castro-Schmidt