Curried Spaghetti might strike one as odd, as curry is not one of those things one associates with Italian cooking. However, it does appear, often in recipes designed to excite the passions of the diners, and is, according to Livio Cerini del Castagnate, not something to be undertaken lightly: One has to measure carefully and respect the cooking times.
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 2 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
- 1 tablespoon parsley (finely minced)
- 1 tablespoon celery (finely minced)
- Dash of salt
- 1 dried bay leaf (crumbled)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup broth
- 2-3 tablespoons cream
- 1 cup of meat or fish (diced, see suggestions below)
- 3/4 pound (380 g) spaghetti
Finely mince a medium-sized onion and heat it over a medium flame with two tablespoons of unsalted butter, stirring with a wooden spoon and making sure that it wilts without coloring at all; after a few minutes add a tablespoon each finely minced parsley and celery and continue cooking over the same low flame; after ten minutes more add two healthy pinches of salt and a crumbled dried bay leaf.
Continue stirring briskly, and add a quarter cup (25 g) of flour followed by a heaping tablespoon of the best curry powder.
Continue working the mixture over a low flame until you obtain a fairly dense paste, into which you should slowly stir a cup (250 ml) of simmering broth. You will obtain a slightly lumpy cream that you should simmer for a half hour before removing from the fire and filter through a finely woven cheesecloth to remove the various fibers.
Return the filtered sauce to the fire, and stir in 2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream (or milk, if you prefer), and, if you want, a little lemon juice. The sauce is done, and will be a light yellow, creamy, and tend to form a skin as it cools (stir to remove the skin). As it's cooking you can add, if you want, diced chicken, pork, or veal, or crustaceans, lobster meat, or shrimp, which will add a pleasingly erotic touch. Figure a half pound for two, and shell and devein the shrimp if that's what you select.
While the sauce is simmering, select the pasta: Spaghetti will work well, as will other thinner flat varieties. You won't want penne or thick maccheroni here. Cook the pasta, a half pound for two, in abundant salted water, and drain it while it's still rather al dente. Return it to the pasta pot, pour the curry sauce over it, and cook, stirring with a spoon, until the sauce is evenly distributed and the pasta done.