Otto Ristorante recipe

Recipe: Saffron infused pasta with bug meat, cherry tomatoes, and shellfish stock

Otto Ristorante’s executive head chef Richard Ptacnik shares a recipe on how to make your pasta and shellfish stock, while getting a little bit fancy with some bug meat, saffron, and a few other fresh ingredients.

Otto Ristorante recipe
Saffron infused pasta with bug meat, cherry tomatoes, and shellfish stock (Credit: Nikki To)

Serves 4

500 ml water
500 g prawn shells
100 ml brandy
½ brown onion, roughly chopped
½ carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
½ leek, roughly chopped
1 pinch saffron
50 ml extra virgin olive oil
½ bunch parsley stalks

Sweat the carrot, onion, celery, and leek in the olive oil in that order until caramelised.

Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Roast the prawn shells until golden for about 10 minutes.

In a large pot over medium to high heat sautee the dried prawn shells, saffron, and tomato. Add the brandy and reduce by two-thirds. Add the water and parsley stalks and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for one hour. Blend using a stick blender and pass twice through chinois before allowing it to cool.

1 pinch saffron threads
300 g 00 flour
2 whole eggs
400 g bug meat
1 punnet red cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 bird’s eye chilli
3 basil leaves
1 punnet baby basil
20 g bronze fennel
250 ml white wine
110 ml extra virgin olive oil
100 ml shellfish stock (See recipe above)

Make a well with the flour in a large bowl. Add the saffron to a touch of water and infuse. Whisk the eggs and place in the well with the saffron water. Stir the eggs into the flour, with a fork first, and then with your hands. Knead the pasta dough with your hands until it is smooth and workable, not too soft and not too hard. Knead the dough with the heel of one hand, pushing it away from you and folding it back towards you. Do this for 5 minutes, wrap the dough with cling film and rest for 15-30 minutes before rolling out.

While the dough is resting start to prepare the ingredients for the pasta. Halve the cherry tomatoes, chop the garlic, chop the chilli. Make sure to keep everything separate.

Clean the bugs and cut into small pieces. Keep aside.

Using a rolling pin flatten the dough out to a thickness that can go through the pasta machine. Pass the dough through the rollers of a pasta machine, decreasing the gap between the rollers each time, so that the dough becomes thinner and longer. Fold the pasta back over itself a few times and put the rollers back on the first setting. Repeat this until you obtain a sheen on the pasta. Once this sheen is obtained continue rolling to a thickness of 3mm, cut sheets approximately 30cm long and pass through the ‘tagliolini’ rolling cutter.

Heat 100 ml of extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the red cherry tomatoes, make sure not to colour. Add the garlic and chilli and cook out for half a minute, deglaze with white wine and make an emulsion with the oil and wine. Add about 100ml of the shellfish stock to richen the sauce.

Meanwhile, cook the fresh pasta in a large pot, allowing 1litre of water per 100 g pasta, plus salt. When you put the pasta in the pot give it a quick stir to prevent from sticking. Cooking time will take about three minutes, test the pasta when you think it is ready (make sure to leave it al dente). Drain the pasta and return immediately to the saucepan with the sauce in it.

Toss the pasta through the sauce and add the bug meat last minute, don’t cook much further let the heat of the sauce and pasta cook the bug meat to medium. Add the torn basil and season with salt. Plate the pasta in a bowl and finish with baby basil and bronze fennel. Serve immediately.

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