CAST IRON SPAGHETTI ON THE GRILL
This recipe defies almost all things we know about how to make a fabulous pasta dish. The spaghetti is crispy, spicy, even burnt in some spots and prepared like a tomato risotto. It's the closest recipe to "fried" pasta you'll find anywhere. And when it's summer, using your grill takes it to new levels. Our recipe is inspired by the original that originated in the city of Bari, in the Puglia (the boot) region of Italy. Puglia's spaghetti recommends a cast iron pan to get the right heat and the right stickiness to create charred parts on the noodles. And by immersing the spaghetti in a tomatoey broth for the duration of the cook, the noodles are completely infused with spicy, aromatic flavours. The crusty burnt parts, familiar to us in many other summer grilling recipes, make it a wonderful summer pasta celebration. Best of all, it takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish.
400g spaghetti (half 900g package)
2 cups tomato puree
1 tbsp Garlic olive oil
1/2 tbsp Cayenne olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
3 cups of water
1 cup fresh basil leaves
TIP: Use 12" cast iron pan
- Heat grill on high, one side only. On the other side, place heat on low.
- While the grill is heating, on your kitchen stove top, place water and salt in medium pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to medium heat. Then add 1 tbsp tomato paste and 1 cup of tomato puree. Stir to blend completely. Move broth in pot to outside grill and place on low-heat side.
- Place cast iron pan on high-heat side of grill. Add olive oils and heat until shimmering. Add remaining tomato puree and tomato paste. Stir until blended.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add uncooked spaghetti to cast iron pan and spread out evenly. If you're using a pan smaller than the noodles, it's okay to break the noodles in half. It'll be our secret.
- Cook noodles until caramelized (browned) on the pan side, about a minute or two. You'll hear the pasta "frying". Then using a medium-sized metal or wood spatula, turn noodles to caramelize on other side. This is the step where you're looking for the noodles to begin getting crispy, and charred in a few places.
- When sauce is completely reduced, add a ladle of tomato broth, cooking until liquid is reduced. Turn over noodles. Then add another ladle of broth. Stir noodles. Reduce liquid, then repeat steps until pasta is barely al dente.
- Leave in pan for another minute or so until the bottom gets completely browned and crispy. Stir in basil.
- Remove from heat. Use tongs to serve and drizzle generously with a robust EVOO, Garlic or Cayenne olive oils.
OPTION: All of the above can be done on your stove top.