By now, you may know how much we enjoy the recipes of Diane Kochilas. We read through her cookbooks to get ideas, to verify how to make something, or to find new dishes to make. Having owned Diane's books since the 1980's, we particularly appreciate her references to the Ikarian diet, given that members of our own family also share an Ikarian background. Her latest book on Ikaria and the Ikarian diet is an excellent book that all readers should get their hands on.
Recently, we found that she had an easy version of Linguine with Poor Man's Caviar (a.k.a. tarama); we recognize, however, that she gives credit for this recipe to local Scarborough (Toronto, Canada) legend Peter Minakis (www.kalofagas.ca). And, although we did not have linguine noodles on hand, we did have spaghetti , which is just a thinner noodle, so we knew it would work.
We like easy recipes with few ingredients. Who doesn't? We had read other recipes for the same dish, but those recipes had many ingredients, many of which we did not have on hand. And, when you want to make dinner that is quick and uses the items you have on hand in the pantry or the fridge. That was the other appealing part about using Kochilas' recipes. This took about 20 minutes to complete from start to finish, which means less than 30 minutes from the time we got home from work to the time dinner was served. Now, spaghetti with tarama is on the list of dishes to make for company.
As you read the ingredients list, you will see that one of the ingredients is Bukovo, which is the Greek term for red pepper flakes. In our house, this is a staple that goes with many meals. We use the red pepper flakes, various hot sauces, tabascos, and dried chiles for different dishes. But, we are aware that we are a little different that way, and not everybody likes spicy foods. We do, so we thought that this time, we would add just a little more zing to the dish, and we used a red pepper pasta. It is made with pepperoncini peppers, so the strands of pasta have a nice little bite. Since the spiciness would be in the pasta, we were able to use the Bukovo for garnish, or as needed per individual. There are a variety of pasta types and flavours to use, you just have to pick out what you like.
For this recipe, you will need the following:
1 pound of spaghetti (we used a spicy (3% hot pepper) Divella spaghetti) or linguine (about 500 g)
6 TBSP oil
1 medium onion, chopped (can use spring onions, scallions, red onions, or white)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup glanced sliced almonds
6 TBSP tarama (not taramosalata) (see our entry from March 1, 2012)
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 teaspoon Bukovo (red pepper flakes) to taste
salt and pepper to taste
In one pot, boil the salted water and cook the pasta. Cook the noodles long enough to your liking. We prefer when noodles have a little bite (al dente), and others prefer very soft noodles. When the pasta is done, drain most of the water, leaving about 4 TBSP in the pan with the noodles. Let that pan sit while you cook the topping/sauce.
|Here we are toasting the slivered almonds|
In a dry sauté pan, toast the almonds. Do not add oil; the nuts have their own that will help the browning process. Toast the almonds long enough that they become a beautiful golden colour. The almonds will brown quickly, so you have to keep moving them around the pan. This will take about 4 minutes in total. Our almonds were a little crushed, so the small crumbles of almond browned a little more than expected. We did not mind, because they tasted delicious, even if they looked a little burnt.
Now, in another pan, sauté the onions and the garlic until the onions are soft. They should not turn brown, merely translucent. Once the onions are soft (about 5 minutes), it is time to add the other ingredients. Add the tarama, almonds, lemon zest, and a bit of bukovo. You may want a little more bukovo, if you want a spicier dish. Mix this together until the ingredients are well combined.
Let the onion/tarama mixture heat through, mixed well, and then, it is time to add it to the pasta. Pour the contents of this pan into the spaghetti pot, and mix well. You will notice that the little bit of water that was in the spaghetti will help mix the sauce/topping all around. Mix everything together enough to get all of the noodles coated. Then, squeeze the lemon over the spaghetti. This will brighten and freshen the flavour of the sauce/topping.
Serve immediately while it is warm and fresh, and enjoy!
This should take most people less than 30 minutes to prepare. We would love to know how your dish turned out. We especially enjoyed the different textures in the dish, from the soft onion, to the crunch of the almonds. Husband found the layers of flavour very complex. There was a slight bitterness from the lemon zest, a slight bite from the bukovo, and the tarama was creamy and a little salty. All of the flavours and textures together made this a great meal. For us, this is a winning recipe not only for the ease, but also for the taste. Thanks to Peter Minakis for the original recipe and Diane Kochilas for the modified, simpler version. Our own modification of using slightly spicy spaghetti made, in our opinion, for a more piquant version that all in our own family enjoyed tonight!
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