I once called Mario Batali’s Babbo Ristorante 27 times in a single day for a reservation. The busy tone and I became good friends.
I have eaten at the famed Greenwich Village eatery on several occasions in the past. But it’s the type of place I can’t seem to get enough of.
All you have is a 5 o’clock reservation on a Tuesday? Sure, I’ll take it.
For the 364 days a year when I can’t score a seat at New York City’s hippest Italian eatery, I live vicariously through the restaurant’s menu by cooking one of their signature dishes — Black Spaghetti. Start with a homemade jalapeño pesto and squid ink spaghetti, sauté fresh garlic in olive oil, add rock shrimp and spicy sopressata, give it all a toss, and let your friends come flocking.
Babbo's Black Spaghetti
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 10 min
For Jalapeño Pesto:
3 cups roughly chopped jalapeño peppers
½ cup sliced (unsalted) almonds
½ cup roughly chopped red onions
½ cup Extra Virgin olive oil
1 pound black spaghetti or linguine, fresh or dry
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup (6 oz.) fresh rock shrimp
1 cup Soppressata, roughly chopped
4 Tablespoons Jalapeño Pesto (recipe above)
1 cup scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
First make the Jalapeño Pesto by adding all of the recipe ingredients to a food processor, adding a pinch of salt and pulsing together until pureed. Set aside. (Note: Any leftover pesto can be stored in the fridge for up to one month.)
Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the black spaghetti and cook just until tender, 6 to 7 minutes.
While the pasta cooks, heat the Extra Virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
Sauté the garlic, rock shrimp and Sopressata in the olive oil just until the garlic is toasted and the shrimp are cooked through.
Add 4 tablespoons of the reserved Jalapeño Pesto to the pan.
Drain the pasta, add it to the sauté pan and gently toss to evenly coat.
Serve the pasta immediately, garnished with the sliced scallions.
Recipe from Mario Batali's Babbo Ristorante.