12.194 Spaghetti al Pomodoro Crudo

Cycle 12 – Cycle 194

18 (Sun) July 2021

Spaghetti al Pomodoro Crudo


by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with the Family, Mom + Dad

Today was Dad’s 76th birthday.

For his birthday last year, I cooked a lavish dinner at home (see 11.189 1++ Hanwoo Sirloin Strip Steak) and then, for some reason, bought a lavish dinner at a restaurant a few days later (see 11.196 Friarielli & Sausage Pizza) – I was happy to do both, just saying.

This year, in light of the surging 4th covid-19 wave, we opted for home only.

More than 1.5 years into the pandemic, and yet it’s getting worse, everywhere.  Nobody saw this coming, not like this.

Prep began at 1300.
According to Robert Parker: “The 2007 Almaviva continues a series of successful vintages for this Chilean icon. Medium purple-colored, it exhibits an expressive bouquet of wood smoke, pencil lead, Asian spices, incense, blackcurrant, and blackberry. Elegantly styled and impeccably balanced, it will evolve for several more years and drink well through 2027 at the least.”  Score: 93.

For DJ’s dol janchi in 2008, I’d purchased 4 bottles of the 2007 Almaviva for the VIP table, where the grandparents were seated.  2 bottles were finished.  I’ve kept the other 2 bottles carefully cellared since then (I had even taken them with me to the Philippines, and brought them back).

Tonight was an excellent occasion to break one open.  Back in 2008, I remember the wine being way too young, intensely dark with explosive fruit potential, yet drinkable, as Chilean wines always are, from the start.  13 years later, the flavors had completely mellowed out, now gentle and elegant, a bit sweet, though otherwise not very impressive, a rather disappointing return on such a long investment, perhaps a bit past its prime? (Wine Spectator had given it 11 years to maturity, Wine Enthusiast just 5 years).

I’m thinking of opening the final bottle on DJ’s 18th birthday in 2025, when he can drink it too.

I bought them for about 120,000 won per bottle; the average price on the internet for a 2007 is now averaging 215,000 won.  The latest 2018 vintage is averaging 200,000 won.

Through my half-assed haggling skills, I managed to purchase a 1-kg slab of 1+ hanwoo sirloin strip for 135,000 won.
The meat looked surprisingly lean for 1+ rating (see for comparison 11.189 1++ Hanwoo Sirloin Strip Steak)

In my opinion, the steaks turned out disappointingly tough, though everyone else seemed to enjoy them.

To implement the home version of my new “no sharing steaks” policy (see 12.166 An Entire Medium-Rare Juicy Delicious Sirloin Steak), I prepared separate steaks.  But only 4 steaks: 1 for my father, 1 for me, and 2 for my mother + W + DJ + IZ, who had to share.  The policy is really “no sharing steaks with my father.”

I had such high hopes that my father, who loves potatoes and anchovies and sour cream, would love Jansson’s Medley.  Alas, I overcooked the potatoes, as evident in the mushy appearance.  In my prior post on the dish, I had written: “I cooked the potatoes just barely to doneness, leaving them still a bit firm, which turnout to be a good thing; if cooked longer, softer potatoes might’ve made the overall dish kinda mushy” (see 12.035 Jansson’s Medley) (I should heed my own experiences).  Even worse, in doubling the recipe, the anchovies seemed to exponentiate in saltiness.

I plan to use the leftovers (most of it was leftover) as a base for pasta salad.

When I’d first encountered the recipe for the Cheesy, Spicy Black Bean Bake (see 12.084 Cheesy, Spicy Black Bean Bake), my initial thought was that my father, who loves beans and cheese and chips, would love the dish.  I was right.  He even took home the leftovers, which he has never done.

For me, the highlight of the meal was Spaghetti al Pomodoro Crudo.  My third attempt at the dish (see previously 11.109 Spaghetti al Pomodoro Crudo (with recipe); 12.034 Pan-Seared Cod with Spaghetti al Pomodoro Crudo), it continues to improve.  This time, I used a range of local tomato varieties, both for color and sweetness.  I also gave them longer time to marinate, about 5 hours , which let the flavors develop more thoroughly and created more juice to coat the pasta, like a sauce.  Served at a cool room temperature, it was an ideal summer pasta.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

(See also BOOZE)



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