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Pasta rolls with baccalà mantecato

by Gogo on December 23, 2009

in Carbs,EatIstria Recipes

Meet a traditional dish eaten on Christmas eve when it is customary not to eat meat. This jewel of Venetian cuisine is in Istria typically served with pasta, and here I present it in a revisited, modern version.

Pasta rolls with Baccalà mantecato
You need:

600 g  salted or dried cod (stockfish), depends what you can find but the dried one is tastier
1 L milk
6 anchovy fillets
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
1 chopped clove of garlic
at least 500 g of very good (!) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cleaned (stems removed) & chopped Italian parsley
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

I bought a nice specimen of the ragno stockfish. Here is the beast.

Dried cod

Dried cod (stockfish)

Ragno means it comes from the islands of Lofoten in Norway, where the best quality stockfish is produced thanks to stable weather conditions during the drying process. Usually the fish is stamped with ragno sign in order to mark its superior quality.

Superior quality dried cod (stockfish) - Ragno

Superior quality dried cod (stockfish) - Ragno

Bad news, you can not prepare it the same day. Remember, the time is the secret ingredient of many delicious recipes. There is no haute cuisine without patience.

You have to put the cod two days before in cold water to rehydrate it or to remove the salt. Keep it in the fridge under 5ºC and change the water every once in a while, every 8 hours is enough.

Stockfish soaking in cold water

Stockfish soaking in cold water

After two days of soaking, dry the fish. In a large casserole heat the milk, add the fish and cook it on low heat for at least 30 minute. Remove the fish from the milk and drain it in a colander. Reserve the milk. Clean the fish from bones and skins so that only the white meat remains.

Mixing the baccalà

Mixing the baccalà

Place the fish in a large mixing bowl. Heat olive oil, add smashed garlic and fry it for not more than 1 minute. Chop the garlic and add it to the bowl together with 3 anchovy fillets and parsley. Blend the ingredients with the hand held mixer and simultaneously add the olive oil, until the mix gets white and foamy like a cream. To make the dish even fancier, add some chopped black truffles in the mix (this version I really ADORE!)

At this point add the milk (but not too much so that your mix does not get too liquid) and everything will become nicely creamy. Add the salt and pepper as needed. The baccalà mantecato is finished. You can serve it also as a nice appetizer on toasted bread.

Now the pasta. In abundant water cook pappardelle which are large, broad fettuccine. Keep them al dente, of course. Drain the pasta.

Prepare the sauce. In a pan heat the olive oil, add 3 anchovy fillets and breadcrumbs. Smash the anchovies so that everything amalgams in a nice sauce.

Making of the pasta rolls

Making of the pasta rolls

Take few pappardelle and aligned it on a dish. Put a roll of baccalà mantecato in the middle of pasta, add few drops of the sauce and make a nice roll. Put the roll on the plate, on the top add again a bit of the sauce, parsley and two spoons of extravirgin olive oil.

This dish pairs well with a sparkling wine or a fresh and crisp white wine (Istrian Malvasia for example) that will contrast the creaminess and high oil content of the dish.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Clem September 8, 2011 at 19:18

I just saw that recipe now, don’t know why I missed it earlier and it looks fantastic… Might entice me to try to make bacalar at home!


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