Saturday, 25 February 2012

Hey Gumbo- Gumbo Italiano!

Gombo con Gamberi & Salsiccia Piccante su Bavette alla Safarana
Gumbo with Shrimp and Spicy Sausage on Saffron Noodles

Here's a little flavor explosion for you! I decided to take the tangy and spicy stew known as gumbo, which originated in the Deep South of the USA, born of French Cajun cuisine and African influences, back to Europe and give it new twist of my own...

My version is lighter, quicker and easier to make- well that's already 3 good reasons to like it right there- but there is more to come! Check out how I made it right here and I hope you enjoy the ride down South...

Most of the classic ingredients of a gumbo went into this- okra, spicy sausage (not Andouille), celery, garlic, oregano, shrimp-and even some sassafrass leaf powder from my trip to New Orleans- although in this version you really can do without. But basically- the important ingredients were there so that it did taste by all means like a proper gumbo. There are many recipes for gumbo- basically a gumbo is a stew, that combines shrimps with meat and simmers for a long time, along with okra and plenty of spice. Mine took around 15 minutes in all. Sounds good? Good!

The pasta was boiled together with a pinch of saffron and a few strips of lemon peel- otherwise it was just boiled as usual- but what a beautiful color! And the mildly perfumed aroma is a wonderful addition to the full picture...

For the gumbo itself I fried the spicy Italian sausage together with the shells from the shrimp, garlic and a little grated ginger. After 3-4 minutes, I removed the shrimp shells and added a little chopped carrot and celery and resumed stir frying... so in principle I had the classic ingredients for a "sofritto" as a base for the rest of the meal. I added oregano, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne and some of my sassafrass powder- although you could also just add a sprinkle of flour. At this point you can also add the okra, which is cut into small pieces.

Deglaze the frying pan with a shot of Sambuca and a little white wine and then some chunky-chopped, canned tomato- just a few spoonfuls. Keep stirring and let the sauce thicken down- the okra will also help to thicken the sauce.

And that is it! A perfect topping for a nice plate of pasta- don't you agree? Garnish with fresh oregano leaves  and a tiny trickle of lime juice and enjoy! Buon apetito!

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