While working at Maialino I not only began to understand how to cook great pasta dishes, but I also began to understand how different pastas made their way into the new and old southern food culture. This pasta dish, like many great pasta dishes focus on a minimal amount of ingredients. Pasta, fresh oysters, and Benton's country ham are the stars of this dish. Some of the other ingredients used in this recipe are bacon drippings, whole butter, thinly sliced garlic, pickled chilies, parsley, green onion, fresh lemon juice and breadcrumbs. Lets take a look at all the ingredients and their preparations.
The following video is an important one. Blooming your garlic and chilies in the bacon drippings is the back bone of your pasta sauce. Slowly heat your garlic in the fat on low to medium low heat until the garlic gets lightly golden brown. Add your chilies and continue to cook on a low to medium low fire. "Pop" (the sound fresh herbs make when introduced to hot fat) in the oil. To stop the cooking, add your salted pasta water that to the pan. This water is great for sauce building because of the excess starch released from cooking the pasta. Take a look...
Add some whole butter to the sauce mixture. You are now ready to boil your pasta in your salted water. I used spaghetti but feel free to use fettuccini, linguini or other like noodles. Stir your noodles frequently so they do not stick. Cooking time on noodles like spaghetti or linguini is about 6 minutes. This leaves the pasta "al dente" so that it can finish cooking and releasing its starch in your pan with the sauce. Notice how I take the noodles from the pot of boiling water and straight to the pan. Do not rinse your noodles as this will rinse the starch from them.
Now for the oysters. Even large oysters only need a couple of minutes to cook. Smaller oysters only need a minute in the pan cooking. That said, be careful not to add oysters to the spaghetti to early. Also, when shucking fresh oysters; save the oyster liquor since the natural juice will add tons of flavor to your pasta.
Now you are ready to plate. I finish my pasta with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a generous amount of thinly sliced green onions. Once I plate the pasta, I garnish the dish with toasted bread crumbs and thinly sliced Benton's country ham. I dehydrated the sliced ham until it was crisp, but feel free to use ham fresh off of slicer.
Serve with crusty grilled bread and enjoy! if you have any questions, go to the "drop me a line" tab and message me.