Say, which would you like first, the recipe or the story of how it came to be?
…thought so. Recipe it is.
No, sorry. Health stuff first. If you like pasta as much as I do, its nutritional data may give you a bit of pause – and rightly so. Let’s look at what comes with 100 g of its, shall we?
330 calories, 65g carbohydrates, 7g fiber and 13g protein. And that’s whole wheat pasta, which is not even the worst of the possible offenders.
Here is the nutritional comparison of my replacement:
Same amount of calories, but that’s where the similarities end – 30g carbohydrates, 22g fiber and 44g protein. Impressed? I’ll throw in 7 times more calcium and 5.5 times more iron.
I believe we have a winner.
Did I mention the amazing taste and texture? Yes, texture – none of that mushy, gummy stuff that is so often associated with gluten-free products. It’s al dente (I learned this Italian word, meaning “firm to the bite”, when I was figuring out how to cook this dish, and I now throw it around as if I speak Italian) – not crunchy, not soft, just perfect. Enough with the suspense:
Enter, Black Bean Spaghetti.
The delightfully short list of ingredients displays nothing more than organic black beans and water.
For this particular dish you will need either seafood medley or a few kinds of your favorite sea creatures. Medley most often comes with mussels, calamari, scallops, octopus, and shrimp. I’d use it as a guide for what to use, and purchase them separately. Those that come frozen need to be drained after thawing; press them to squeeze out the water.
Pour some olive oil in the wok and heat it up for a few minutes. Press a few garlic cloves and drop them in the oil. When you see the oil bubbling and you’re able to smell the garlic, turn the heat down to medium. Drop the seafood medley in the oil and mix it with a wooden spoon so that your creatures get infused with oil and garlic. Make sure not to overcook them, as they turn rubbery when cooked too long. 5-7 minutes is usually enough for squid, and shrimp requires even less, so it’s better to add it last.
Meanwhile, cook your pasta. This is a fairly standard procedure: 7 minutes in boiling water, then rinse under cold running water. If you timed it right, both the sea creatures and the pasta are ready about simultaneously. When doing it the first time, you may want to prepare the pasta first, so you can concentrate on getting your seafood cooked just right.
Add the pasta to the wok. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly, making sure the pasta gets soaked in the liquid. As you blend, add salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs to taste – my preferred ones are oregano and parsley. Either fresh or dried will do.
Enjoy your wheat-free, gluten-free and guilt-free pasta. It doesn’t get much better than that. I wonder how it’s even legal.
Black bean spaghetti doesn’t absorb liquid as much as standard pasta, so you may have some leftover garlic-infused olive oil. I suggest saving it – it makes for an amazing dressing that you can use on tomorrow’s salad with shrimp. Or meatballs.
Don’t feel like seafood? Mix anything you like with your pasta – it will be fantastic.
Black Bean Seafood Pasta Recipe
Servings: 4. Time: 20-30 min.
- Black Bean Spaghetti – 200g
- Seafood medley – 300-350g
- Olive oil -3-4 Tbsp
- Garlic, crashed – 4 cloves
- Herbs (oregano, parsley – either fresh or dried) – to taste
- Salt, pepper – to taste
Thaw and drain seafood. Press it to squeeze out the water. If there is a mix of cooked and uncooked sea creatures, separate them.
Boil 2 liters of water. Add the pasta and boil for 7 minutes. Rinse under the cold water.
Heat olive oil in the wok. Press the garlic and add it to the hot oil. Add uncooked seafood and turn the heat down to medium. Mixing continuously, cook for 5-6 minutes. Add cooked seafood for the last 2 minutes. Mix thoroughly.
Add pasta to the wok. Mix everything, adding salt, pepper and herbs. Make sure to soak the pasta in the oil infused with garlic.
Serve hot. Refrigerate leftovers and heat up in a microwave the next day. Use leftover of the sauce for any salad or dish lending itself to a garlicky taste.
Oh, the promised story. On one very cold night in one very cold city we sought refuge in a restaurant. While my family was surfing the menu, I spotted the words “seafood pasta” and envisioned olive oil with garlic, poured all over a plate of pasta teeming with all kinds of shellfish, prawns, and other octopi. Not reading the details (big mistake!), I ordered it and was hardly able to wait. I can’t tell you what a disappointment it was when the dish they brought had maybe 3-4 sea creatures in it, but worst of all – it was drenched in tomato sauce, which totally overpowered all the other tastes. My fault for not reading the description of course… but in a few days I decided to reverse-engineer my vision. It became a favorite, which I was able to enjoy only rarely – until black bean spaghetti came along.
There are other worthwhile substitutes for the usual, carb-rich pasta. I am sure we will return to them in the future. Meanwhile, feel free to throw your own favorites in the mix. And let me know how this one turned out when you try it!
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