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.
For Jalapeño Pesto:
- 3 cups roughly chopped jalapeño peppers
- 1/2 cup sliced (unsalted) almonds
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped red onions
- 1/2 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.
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Recipe from Mario Batali's Babbo Ristorante.