Will Eaglesfield, chef at Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Queenstown, gives instruction for preparing this light and luscious take on spaghetti and meatballs in advance — the meatballs, broth and pasta can all be pre-cooked, ready to pull together just before serving.
|100 g||Stale white bread, crusts removed, cut into 3cm dice|
|80 g||Celery stalks|
|1 large||Egg, beaten|
|1 Tbsp||Finely chopped parsley|
Tomato saffron broth and pasta
- Kill the crayfish by cutting firmly down into the head then halving lengthwise. Careful, crayfish are very spiny, so use a folded tea-towel to hold firmly down on the chopping board as they twitch when killed. Your fishmonger will be happy to do this for you. Steam the halved crayfish for 5 minutes, then let cool and remove and roughly chop the meat. Keep the shells for the stock.
- To make the crayfish stock, break up the shells and bring to the boil with the onion and celery leaves in a litre of water. Simmer for 30 minutes, then strain.
- For the meatballs, pulse the stale bread in a food processor to make coarse breadcrumbs. Finely chop the onion and celery to a 2mm dice, saute in a tablespoon of olive oil on a low heat until soft and translucent and let cool. Mix the chopped crayfish meat, breadcrumbs, sautéed onion and celery, egg, parsley and 5g of salt to form a sticky ‘dough’. If needed add a couple of tablespoons of the crayfish stock to moisten and bring it together. Form the dough into 40g balls, steam for 10 minutes or until 65C in the middle, then cool and chill until ready to serve.
- For the broth, bring the tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar, saffron and crayfish stock to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Blend well with a stick blender (or processor) and pass through a sieve. Add 1-2 teaspoons of salt to taste.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil for the pasta, stirring in salt until it tastes like seawater. Add the pasta and cook for 9 minutes, then strain, toss with the oil and spread out over a large baking tray to cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to the fridge and once cold, store in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, heat a grill pan or a lightly oiled frying pan until it’s starting to lightly smoke. Cook the meatballs for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally, until coloured on all sides and hot through.
- Meanwhile, bring the tomato broth and pasta to a boil together in a large saucepan and cook for 2 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
- Divide the pasta between four deep bowls. Check the broth for seasoning (the pasta will soak up some of the salt) and ladle over enough broth to submerge half the pasta. Top with meatballs, garnish with rocket and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a few grinds of black pepper.
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