Post image for Black pasta in white sauce and white pasta in black sauce

Black pasta in white sauce and white pasta in black sauce

by Gogo on April 2, 2010

in Carbs,EatIstria Recipes

Some time ago I posted a recipe for Labinski krafi, Istrian version of ravioli filled with young cow cheese and raisins. Inspired by minimalist graphic design (hate it) and black and white movies (love it), I invented a revised version of the recipe with the intention to use two colors – black and white – as two main ingredients of the dish (some artist say these are not even colors, but anti-colors). I prepared it today on Good Friday when usually here in Istria we eat seafood.

Here is the final result, black version of Labinski krafi in white sauce and traditional white version in black sauce.

Labinski krafi in B&W

Labinski krafi in B&W

Now, the recipe.

To make the white krafi follow my previous post. Making of the black version is very similar, you just have to add a package of the cuttlefish ink (nero di sepia) into the pasta dough and knead it thoroughly until you get an uniform black color.

Black and white pasta dough

Black and white pasta dough

Use the pasta machine to make 1 mm thick pasta sheet and you will already start to feel sea smell in the air. What to put inside the pasta? This time I had some fresh shrimps in the fridge, but shrimp scampi would be an even better choice for the filling.

Black pasta sheet filled with shrimps

Black pasta sheet and shrimps

Inventing the white sauce was easy – I just reduced two cups of good fish stock and thickened it with a teaspoon of cornstarch. In Istrian cuisine milk based sauces are not used at all, but if you like creamy feeling in your mouth use béchamel sauce

The black sauce was a challenge, in fact, there are not so many ingredients that can give a nice black color and. And I wanted to avoid using again cuttlefish ink since it’s not so easy to digest and would give too strong taste to the sauce. Finally, I used black olives tapenade diluted in some water, thickened with cornstarch with few drops of aceto balsamico. The result was satisfactory, although I am not quite happy about it since the olive taste prevailed too much over all other ingredients.

Any other idea for a subtle, elegant yet black sauce that would pair nicely with fresh cow cheese inside the white krafi? Blackberries? Aubergines? I don’t have idea.

I dedicate this recipe to Katarina Matić Ferić, my beloved chef from Restaurant “Milan” in Pula. Looking forward to cook something together with her.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Ingvar Johansson April 4, 2010 at 09:53

Fantastic blog. I wish I had read this before my visit to the area a year ago. I will follow your blog and really hope to be able to go there soon.


Gogo April 7, 2010 at 10:04

Thanks Ingvar for your support! Unfortunately I can not follow your blog since it’s in Danish (I hope I got it right), but I see you like Vitovska from Zidarich. This is one of my favorite white wines, as soon as you feel how it smells you know there are practicaly none of the usual fruity, floral, vegetable aromas. Only one thing is certain, that there is a lot of minerals, as you are drinking spring water coming from the rock in the mountain. This wine is very mysterious and mind blowing stuff.


ladySu April 4, 2010 at 14:18

I’m delited with your posts!!!! Amazing recipes, stories and pics!!! Big hug dear friend!


Gogo April 7, 2010 at 09:50

Hey Susana! So nice to read you here. Can’t wait to see Erwin, Sophia and you again. You must prepare again that delicious Cuban rice and beans together with fried bananas. I miss you all, my dear Cuban friends!


Clem April 4, 2010 at 17:56

Wow your imagination really knows no limit! Using olive tapenade is a great move ! was it homemade ?
Pairing white krafi with blackberry coulis could be a good idea, I often eat skuta with my mom’s blackberry jam and the combination is to die for (my mum’s jam is to die for, that might explain why).
And I have another question: dàoes the cuttlefish ink give a taste to the ravioli or just colour?


Gogo April 7, 2010 at 10:20

As we already discussed few days ago, blackberry jam is fine if you use it alone with white krafi, and then the dish magically transforms into dessert. Here is the photo

The problem comes when you want to pair these white krafi that are sweet, with the black krafi that are definitely salty. This combination could have passed in the Middle Age when the sweet and salty were not as separated as today, but today, especially in Istria, salt and sugar are two separate worlds. BUT! White krafi break this salt-sugar separation because they have some raisins inside and still they are traditionally eaten with a chicken ragout sauce that is salty.

We should definitely try it and then decide.


Ingvar Johansson April 8, 2010 at 19:02

Yes the Zidarichs wines are amazing. Last one I blogged about was the 2006 Malvasia. A bit more fruit than the Vitovska but still very minerally. I really want to visit the winery. I wonder if you could contact me through e-mail since I have a couple of questions


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