Pork blood pasta with n'duja, rapini & smoked burrata by Chef-Owner at Buca, Buca Bar and Buca Yorkville, Rob Gentile
A big part of what drives us in the kitchen at Buca is the desire to cook with every part of an animal that we possibly can.
We use a lot of pork, and pig’s blood is one of my favourite ingredients—for both savoury and sweet dishes. One of the really interesting things about it is the way it coagulates. It’s like liquid meat that behaves like an egg. So we tried making pasta with it, thinking that instead of egg or water, we could use blood. We experimented and found that a mixture of water and blood worked best, and that’s the way we’ve been doing it for four years now. What goes well with blood spaghetti? Well, we make a pretty good n’duja that’s got less paprika and more smoked chilli than a traditional one. So we emulsify that with starchy pasta water, add some soffritto for sweetness, rapini for bitterness and smoked burrata for creaminess and an extra smoky note. It’s a plate of pasta that’s like a plate of meat. And with the chef community and everybody else, it has been one of the most popular dishes we’ve made since day one. It never comes off the menu.
– Rob Gentile
- 200 g (7 oz—about 1½ cups) semolina flour
- 200 g (7 oz—about 1½ cups) “00” flour
- 20 g (about 1½ tsp) kosher salt
- 90 g (3 oz) pig’s blood
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 60 mL (¼ cup) onion soffritto
- 175 mL (¾ cup) white wine
- 125 mL (½ cup) n’duja (raw pork sausage)
- 175 mL (¾ cup) chopped blanched rapini (or ramps, in their season)
- 1 tbsp minced parsley
- Salt and pepper
- 225 g (8 oz) burrata, chopped and (if possible) cold-smoked, at room temperature
- Fine extra virgin olive oil
To make the pasta, combine the flours and the salt, and mound them together on a work surface. Create a well at the centre, and fill it with the blood and 90 mL (about 1/3 cup) of cold water. Work it all together, and then kneed for five minutes. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour—and ideally, overnight. Then dust the dough with flour, roll and pass through a pasta machine. Rest sheets for 30 minutes, dust with flour, fold and cut into spaghetti. Sprinkle with flour and set aside.
To finish, cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan on medium. Add garlic and cook for one minute (do not colour). Add soffritto, raise heat, and deglaze with the wine. Meanwhile in a small mixing bowl, combine n’duja with ¼ cup of starchy pasta water until smooth and emulsified. When the wine is reduced to syrup, lower heat and stir in the n’duja mixture. Follow with the rapini (or ramps) and parsley. Drain pasta and add it to the sauté pan. Toss and combine well. Taste, and correct seasonings. Divide pasta between four warm shallow pasta bowls. Top each portion with a mound of 2 to 3 tbsp of burrata, drizzle with fine olive oil, and serve.