Chorizo & Fermented Tomato Rigatoni with Crispy Parmesan Squash Blossoms
I promised myself I would never do another half marathon. After the last one I ran six years ago, I decided defecating my running shorts on the finish line wasn’t exactly an experience I wanted to repeat. It’s painstaking to train, painful on my now motherly hips, and I hate running. Yet, here I am, signed up for another half marathon. I am a human who likes to wade out into the rushing waters of struggle and try to “salmon” my way back out. I might die on the journey, but you bet your sweet apple pie I’m going to lay my eggs first. Gross analogy, but I stand by it.
I started my training and I went on my first run yesterday and I came home with a bright red face and told Ben that I wanted to go all “Michael Scott” on a bowl of fettuccine. I didn’t get my fettuccine, I got something much better. A little idea in my head that started with spicy chorizo took it’s course and the list began: chorizo, fermented tomato sauce, fresh rigatoni, parmesan squash blossom crisps, preserved lemon, more parmesan, and anchovy. Thus, a perfect meal. The red sauce in this recipe is some of my best work in the kitchen. I feel no shame bragging on it. After one bite, Ben sat back in his chair with a big grin on his face and sighed. There is no higher compliment from that man. A grin paired with a sigh.
This sauce is so good you can hear the whispers of angels when you stir it. It is flavored with anchovy paste, preserved lemon, and homemade lacto-fermented tomato pureé. I have been throwing anchovy paste and fish sauce in almost everything lately and I always surprised at the dynamic flavor fish can bring, even when it’s not the main course. Preserved lemon brightens the sauce and tames the tanginess of the fermented tomatoes.
My neighbor has a lovely garden and a bunch of squash blossoms that needed picking to allow her zucchini to get more nourishment. I volunteered to help her take care of this “problem” with the intention of dipping those suckers in egg, dredging in Italian bread crumbs and parmesan, and frying up those babies in a pan to top off some pasta. When I die, don’t cremate me. Just dip me in egg, cover me in parmesan, and then let me bake for a few hours. I want to come back as a parmesan crisp.
A little cheesy, crispy squash blossom on top of this spicy, chorizo and tomato rigatoni is the savory equivalent of a double scoop. Treat on top of treat. Garnish with parmesan, lemon zest, and flat-leaf parsley. Make sure you are always heavy-handed when it comes to parmesan otherwise you are not a human that can be trusted. Trustworthy humans worship cheese. Cheesus Saves! Spread the news!
The main take away from this recipe is the sauce. I am sharing this little treasure with you because I believe it will greatly enhance your life, or rather, your dishes. It takes a little time to make with the lacto-fermented tomatoes, but it is really easy and worth the extra effort, just like all good things.
I will absolutely be making this delectable dish on the reg as I push the limits of my body, training for the thirteen miles I will run in October. God speed, Taste Buds! It’s time to carbo load for Michael Scott’s Dunder-Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure!