Chef Box Series: Strozzapreti Bottarga
Tuna Bottarga, dried and cured tuna roe, is a classic Italian ingredient that gives an umami pop to whatever it touches, especially pasta. Strozzapreti (which literally translates to priest stranglers!) has a shape that catches the bottarga, breadcrumbs, and sauce for complexity in every bite.
If you have bottarga left over, try it as a condiment for cooked vegetables— fennel in particular.
For the strozzapreti
- 1 pound strozzapreti
- 2 cloves garlic, whole
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1½ quarts cherry tomatoes cut in half, peeled if you like, but it’s not necessary
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the breadcrumbs
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves attached
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 ounce tuna bottarga, grated fine
- 1 cup basil leaves, torn
Boil a pot of salted water for the pasta. The shape will take 10-12 minutes to cook. When done, drain and set aside.
In a pan add the garlic cloves to the oil, then add the tomatoes right away and cook until they get soft. Crush them with a spoon after 3-4 minutes and continue to cook them for another 5 minutes or so. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon zest.
While the tomatoes cook, pull off the outer peel of the bottarga with your fingers. Then, use a microplane to grate the bottarga over the breadcrumbs and toss to combine.
Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat and then add the whole garlic clove and swirl that in the pan for 30 seconds to perfume the oil. Add the whole oregano sprigs to the pan, then add the breadcrumbs and stir until they start to brown. They will soak up the oil in the pan and toast in it. When they are light brown, remove them from the heat and set the mixture aside on a plate.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta, breadcrumbs, tomatoes and torn basil leaves together and serve.