Despite the incredibly boring title, this dish actually consists of many complex flavors. Who knew Ethiopian cuisine was influenced by Italians? Fascinating. We've never had Ethiopian food so this was fun to experiment. Harissa, a Moroccan condiment, is used in this, and it is hard to find. I found mine at Balducci's, in the same aisle as the onion jam I needed a couple days ago. I think I need to stop buying random ingredients that I will probably not use again. Oops.
This was good and very interesting, and we liked it a lot. It just wasn't "great." We probably would not make it again. I am intrigued by Ethiopian food now though. Maybe I will need to find some more recipes to try out!
Red Whole Wheat Penne
Cooking Light, 12/08
Probably the main foreign influence on Ethiopian cuisine is Italian. Pasta saltata is a common dish, cooked with rich butter, olive oil, pasta, berbere spice blend, and fiery chiles. This healthful version with whole wheat pasta uses almonds to create a pestolike sauce, and the red color comes from the hot harissa condiment. And just like the traditional Genovese version of the dish, this pasta is served with potatoes.
1 pound peeled Yukon gold potatoes (about 2)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 1 large)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons harissa
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups hot cooked whole wheat penne (about 12 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
1/4 cup chopped arugula
ba1/4 cup chopped basil
1. Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain potatoes in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 1/2 cups liquid. Cool potatoes slightly, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add almonds, shallots, and garlic to pan; cook 8 minutes or until the almonds are golden, stirring often. Remove from heat; cool.
3. Place almond mixture in a food processor; add remaining 3 tablespoons oil, juice, cheese, harissa, and salt; process 1 minute or until well blended and almost smooth. With the processor on, slowly pour 1 1/2 cups reserved cooking liquid through food chute; process 1 minute or until smooth.
4. Combine pasta, potatoes, and almond mixture in a large bowl, tossing gently. Fold in arugula; sprinkle with basil.
Yield: 4 servings