Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Eggs in Hell" make a sinfully heavenly pasta

Uova in Inferno on spaghetti
I came home this afternoon with a powerful hankering to fashion a dish based on Uova in Inferno (“Eggs in Hell”), an Italian country egg dish that Mario Batali (and, in fairness, Martha Stewart) made famous, but to modify it as a pasta dish rather than a skillet casserole meant to be served with crusty Italian bread.

A little Googling led me past Mario's and Martha's renditions to a simple, easy and delicious approach posted on Leite's Culinaria (@leitesculinaria), a favorite food blog.  (Click the link to see it.)  I stuck fairly close to Leite's original until it came to the end, whereupon I made spaghetti, put it into bowls, and slid one tomato-poached, Parmigiano-seasoned egg and its fiery red and spicy sauce onto the pasta.  Put a salad on the side, and ohboyohboy was it great!  This one goes into the rotation for sure.

Here is Leite's recipe, which, as noted, I followed fairly closely up to the fourth step, where I introduced it to spaghetti.

I did add some chopped fresh ginger to the garlic, just because I had some and thought it would be good, and let the garlic-ginger mix saute in the hot oil until it was browning and very aromatic; I dramatically upped the garlic quotient, using about six cloves, and was glad I did; and I used only about half of a can of Red Gold petite-diced tomatoes, a regional brand of good quality. Substitute Muir or Hunt's or whatever you've got if you can't find Red Gold.

Eggs in Hell
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt, or to taste
2 to 4 large eggs
2 to 3 teaspoons grated Parmesan, plus more to taste
Chile oil or hot sauce (optional)
Bread, preferably toasted (mandatory)

1. Pour the olive oil into a skillet, then add the garlic, scatter in the red pepper flakes, and heat the skillet over medium, stirring, for 1 minute.
2. Tip in the tomatoes, stir in the salt, and let it come to a bubble.
3. Crack 1 egg at a time into a small dish and pick out any shell fragments before you slip it into the tomato mixture. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the egg whites, leaving the yolks exposed if you like them runny or spooning the tomato sauce completely over the eggs if you like your yolks hard-cooked. (Conversely, if you’re obsessive about the whites of your eggs being set, maybe sprinkle the yolks with the Parmesan, seeing as it’s hard to tell when they’re covered with cheese.) Partially cover the skillet with a lid. Let the tomato sauce bubble for about 5 minutes, by which time the white should be set but the yolk, if left uncovered, still runny. Keep an eye on the eggs, as the timing will vary somewhat.
4. Remove the skillet from the heat and serve, if so wished, sprinkled with a little (or a lot) more Parmesan and some chile oil or hot sauce, and accompanied by bread for dunking.