Monday, August 20, 2007

Ragù for a dead princess

In 1990 I was available in NYC one weekend to cover jury deliberations for Leona Helmsley's tax evasion trial. Howard Kurtz was then based in NY and asked me to put in a couple of days just in case anything broke. Nothing did.

Up and down the dark courtroom, stately buzzardwalking caged hauteur. Gaggled reporters on either side of the center aisle might as well have been clumps of earthworms. No warmth, no eye contact, no attention to anything other than the New York Times Magazine's food section. Pen in hand she made notes, then a call -- to discuss with an assistant or chef the menu for the evening meal. It seemed to involve carefully deliberated substitutions within the paper's recommended ingredients.

Recipe: Pasta With Shrimp Ragù

Time: 40 minutes

1 1/2 pounds medium-to-large shrimp, in their shells

Salt and ground black pepper

Pinch cayenne

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium or 1 large chopped onion

1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 large or 3 plum tomatoes, chopped, with juice

1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram or oregano, plus a few leaves for garnish

1 pound pasta, preferably fresh.

1. Shell shrimp; boil shells with just enough water to cover, a large pinch of salt, a grinding of pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Simmer 10 minutes, then drain, reserving liquid (discard shells). Bring a pot of water to boil for pasta and salt it.

2. Meanwhile, finely chop about a third of the shrimp. Put olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; a minute later add onion and carrot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are quite soft, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, herb and chopped shrimp, and cook, still over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to break down. Add stock from shrimp shells and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is no longer soupy but still moist.

3. When sauce is almost done, cook pasta. When pasta has about 5 minutes to go, stir whole shrimp into sauce. Serve pasta with sauce and shrimp, garnished with a few leaves of marjoram or oregano.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home