I’m a huge lover of black pudding – be it deep fried and slapped on a bap, bathed tenderly in a tomato sauce or served up with the ubiquitous pea purée and scallops. Whilst some people may turn their nose up at the idea of eating blood-based-offally-treats, I have no time for their naysaying ways. After all, what’s there to dislike? It’s just a bit of blood. And ridiculously tasty blood at that.
Whilst my Northern heart will always be allied to a nice juicy Bury specimen, I have a very soft spot for morcilla, a Spanish interpretation which uses rice as a binding agent instead of the usual suet, and is spiced with paprika. This makes it slightly moister, and gives it a wonderful rich, punchy flavour. Whilst I’m not averse to simply frying it and eating it straight out of the pan with my fingers, it’s even better when it’s cooked with love, care, tomatoes and smoked paprika.
I first saw this recipe at Eat Like a Girl, and immediately bookmarked it, intending to make it as soon as I had a chance and some spare black pudding at my disposal. Me being me, I’ve tweaked a few of the elements – added a few more chillies, a bit more smoked paprika, and simmer the sauce rather than roast it, as my morcilla melted into my sauce pretty quickly, and I was scared that cooking it in an oven may lead to Mr. Cay moaning at me because he has to scrub the carbon stains off yet another casserole dish.
What you’re left with is a saucepan full of something which (I’ll be honest) isn’t the most attractive looking sauce in the world, but which yields a plate of comfort – full of warmth and flavour, comfort and spice. The best thing about it is that it takes no time at all to pull together – an hour tops if you count the time it takes to open a bottle of wine and glug a glass whilst you’re waiting for your pasta to boil.
So, here’s to blood, to offal, to everything dark and cheap and delicious. You may not be pretty, but boy, you sure are tasty.
SPAGHETTI WITH MORCILLA AND TOMATO SAUCE (Serves two hungry people)
Adapted (slightly) from Eat Like a Girl
You will need:
- 200g morcilla
- 2 shallots, finely sliced
- 2 fat cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 200g (good) white spaghetti
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Sauté the shallots and garlic in a good glug of olive oil for around five minutes. They should turn soft, but not brown.
- Chop your morcilla into large chunks, and add it to the pot. Cook for around five minutes until it begins to soften and fall apart.
- Add the tomatoes, chilli flakes, smoked paprika and red wine vinegar to the mixture. The morcilla will melt into the sauce, so keep tasting it to ensure it’s all to your liking. Needs more chilli? Or perhaps a touch more red wine vinegar? Throw it in there!
- Simmer the sauce for twenty minutes. After ten minutes, boil your pasta until it is cooked al dente. Drain and add to the sauce.
- Serve immediately with a smattering of parsley.