Being the Trekkie that I am, I recently purchased the Star Trek Cookbook. I thought it would be a nice idea to give you all here a taste, so to speak, of what this book has to offer. To accomplish this, I invited a friend over for dinner and picked out a recipe.
The recipe is Alfarian Hair Pasta. Before I go on to the Earth variety of this dish, I’ll give you some background on the original. The Alfarian Hair Pasta is made from the hair-follicles of an Alfarian. This high-protein and fibre hair is harvested during shedding season on the planet Tarkannan. Since the Alfarian is not present on Earth, some adjustments have been made to the recipe and the ingredient list (for four servings) is as follows:
1 16-ounce package of angel hair pasta
1 6-ounce can of anchovy paste removed
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
6 large tomatoes, chopped not present
2 medium onions, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped became red pepper
Â½ clove of garlic, sliced thin
Â½ clove of garlic, crushed
Â¼ cup of parsley, freshly chopped not present
1 teaspoon fresh basil not present
1 tablespoon oregano
2 teaspoons sugar
1 bay leaf removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese to taste not used
half a courgette (aka Zucchini)
I slightly modified this due to not having tomatoes, parsley or basil. It being Pentecost, I could not go to the store and get it as they were all closed. I also did not have a green pepper so substituted a red one. A final modification was the removal of anchovy from the ingredient list (I hate anchovy) as well as the bay leaf (no idea what that was). I added courgette and some more tomato paste to make up for the lost real tomatoes and anchovy paste.
The cooking procedure itself also underwent some modifications as the recipe, when followed to the letter, takes more than 1½ hours to finish, and we just did not have that much time.
So, on to the actual cooking itself. The process as I describe here is what I did, and is not a direct copy from the book. It also assumes that all the necessary chopping, slicing and crushing has been done.
Put the olive oil into a large pan and add the sliced garlic. Quickly cook the garlic and then add the onions and pepper. Then add the tomato paste, stir and let simmer for a bit. Keep stirring or else it will stick to the bottom (as happened to me, I did get it all off but it’s a pain in the ass when doing the dishes). This can be stopped by adding a generous amount of cooking cream (I use light) to make the paste a bit more fluid. Add the herbs, sugar and courgette and stir again so it mixes nicely.
The dish is a vegetarian one, but this is a nice time to add some meat to the mix (chicken or something). You can either use precooked meat that you dice and add to it so it can heat up again, or prepare some meat in a separate pan while you make the sauce and add that.
When you’re almost done with the sauce, cook the angel-hair pasta following the directions on the packaging. In general, the noodles need to be put in a pan of water and placed on the fire until the water boils or is near boiling. When that moment comes, stir the noodles to make them loose and leave them in the water for a few more minutes. Then remove them from the water and drain to get rid of all excess water.
For a fancy way of serving this, put the noodles in a bowl and place some sauce on top. Put the rest of the sauce in a separate bowl and serve. Regular, plain-ol’-Jane style involves the noodles being divided between, and placed directly on, the plates. The sauce then follows the same procedure and you just hand out the ready plates.
I really liked what I made and so did my friend so I’m hoping this will inspire (some) of you to wander into the kitchen and try it out for yourselves. Have a fun time cooking and enjoy the result.