Based on a recipe by Eric Kim In the New York Times
This jaw-dropping pasta delivers an umami bomb of flavor with an unexpected ingredient. Kombu has long been the secret weapon of chefs and now you can harness the amazing power of this superfood from the sea. Don't wrinkle up your nose at the thought of using seaweed in pasta. The natural glutimates in kombu enhance the flavor of food without really delivery flavor of its own. If you think you "don't like seaweed" chances are you don't like the texture of roasted nori sheets used in sushi and these are completely different. Kombu is like a food ninja. It hides in a dish just helping out in the background. The added benefit is that it adds lots of minerals and vitamins so this pasta is practically health food (or that's what I like to tell myself.) A final dash of seaweed sprinkles (furikake in Japan) gives a slight crunch and burst of spicy, salty umami goodness.
2 (4 inch) squares of Ocean's Balance Kombu
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon good quality rice wine vinegar
1/2 pound asparagus, thinly sliced
Seaweed Sprinkles (we like spicy or shiitake flavor for this dish)
1. Add 1 kombu square to 8 cups of water in a large sauce pan, season generously with salt and bring to a boil. Add the entire box of pasta and cook for 3 minutes. Drain the pasta reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Disgard the kombu and add the pasta back to the pot.
2. Add the remaining kombu, cream, red onion, garlic, black pepper and reserved pasta water to teh pasta. Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook the pasta until the sauce has thickened slightly. 4 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat. Added he vinegar and asparagus, stir to combine for one minute. Discard the kombu and stir in the sesame oil. Divide in serving bowls and add a sprinkle or two or Seaweed Sprinkles.
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