How many bugs can we make flours out of? More importantly, can you think of anything better than pasta to make room for these flours in your everyday cooking?
Today we are not talking about the nutritional qualities of insect foods, nor about the environmental benefits that producing protein from such sources generates compared to the classic red fat steaks.
We've already talked about it many times, but we should stop repeating the same things all the time; today we're talking about taste.
No fuss, just a few recipes to cook a pasta capable of convincing even the most traditional and prudish Italians. Just kidding, they will always say that the pasta with sauce the way their grandmother cooked it is the best in the world. Trying to change their minds would be a waste of time, we are not interested. We want to talk to the curious.
We are Italians, we love pasta and for this reason we are also crazy about pasta made with insect flour. We've learned to appreciate whole wheat pasta, let alone if we're scared of a few crickets.
An idea that could be interesting, in order to understand how to season this pasta, is to put some bits and pieces around it that can blend well with its principal flavor: nuts.
It may sound strange, but pasta made from insect flour does not have a strong taste when eaten alone. The notes that can be found in it are those of toasted things and that tend to be sweet, that is why we often talk about nuts such as almonds and pine nuts. In all this, let's not forget that even in this pasta the main element is cereal flour, therefore the taste of wheat will always be part of the dish’s bouquet.
So what should we put in it? Let's do this: we give you two recipes that we liked a lot, one vegan and one with salsiccia, you try them and then tell me if you liked them. Ok?
FUSILLETTO WITH ZUCCHINI, ALMONDS AND MINT:
Very simple. With the zucchini and almonds we will prepare a kind of pesto. Basically, first we keep the zucchini in boiling water for a minute (ONE!). Then we blend them with extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons of breadcrumbs, almonds, salt, pepper, a pinch of garlic and some salted capers. Also add a coffee cup filled with water, it will help the mixture to take on a more homogeneous shape. Drain the pasta in a bowl, put in the cream you just made, two tablespoons of cooking water and fill with mint leaves before you begin to stir everything. To taste, sprinkle some almond granules on top and if you're not vegan, a little bit of pecorino cheese should be fine too!
MEZZE MANICHE ARRABBIATISSIME WITH CHILI, EGGPLANT, FENNEL AND SAUSAGE:
In a frying pan, lightly fry the red onion and when it is golden brown add the shelled sausage, which we will then deglaze with a little wine as soon as it begins to crumble. In a baking tin, wrap some aluminum foil around the eggplant which has been sliced into a few pieces and seasoned with oil, salt, chili pepper and a sprinkling of wild fennel. Tightly wrap the aluminum foil and put it in the oven at 140 degrees for an hour. Check that the eggplants are soft, after which blend them and mix everything in the pan with the pasta and some soffritto, made of onions, carrots and celery. Stir it all and then add more fennel on the plate.
The first recipe calls for almonds in order to bring out the familiar flavor of the dish as a whole. In the second recipe, on the other hand, the basic idea was to look for a Sicilian flavor capable of incorporating some crickets instead of the usual pine nuts found in many southern pastas.
Try them, we liked them, who knows, maybe even the purist naysayers we were talking about will be convinced...