Alice Waters has a wise refrain, “Cook simply, engaging all your senses.” For home cooks bombarded with gadgets, long ingredient lists, and duties far beyond the kitchen, this is hard advice to heed. Even as a zealous Alice disciple, Mr. Alpenglow routinely gets so caught up in tightly sequenced tasks of cooking that the pleasure is lost. Here is a powerful dish to rekindle the sensory joy of cooking: vividly colored tomatoes set against sepia pasta; acidity to balance a rush of brine; the transporting smell of salty sea air and, after a long winter, a season of abundance ahead.
CUTTLEFISH SPACCATELLI WITH SHRIMP
fresh tomatoes, green onions, chili, garlic
for 3-4 servings:
2/3 package of cuttlefish ink pasta
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
6 flat-packed anchovies
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 lb. of large shrimp, peeled, deveined, patted dry
2 1/2 cups of fresh small tomatoes, halved
1 cup of green onions, thinly sliced
crushed red chili pepper flakes
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and pour out the water, reserving about 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water. In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil on medium high. Add the garlic, anchovies, and tomato paste, stirring to dissolve. When the tomato paste begins to darken, add the shrimp and season with chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes on each side until the shrimp is no longer translucent. Transfer the shrimp and sauce to the pot of pasta. Use the reserved pasta water to deglaze the pan. Add this water to the pot, then stir in the raw tomatoes and green onions. Finish with salt and pepper and serve immediately.