River Song Pasta
Like Doctor River Song, this pasta dish is fast and classy. Unlike her, it’s also cheap and easy. It’ll be simplicity itself to give all your guests a little taste of everyone’s favorite archaeologist.
6 hardboiled eggs
6 angel hair pasta nests
6 tbsp/180 g butter
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp/10 g kosher salt or coarse sea salt
juice of 1 lemon
roasted red bell peppers
I freaking love this dish. Making it is simplicity itself. Whovians crack up when they see it. Plus, as an extra bonus, it makes a good main course for octo-lavo vegetarians (people who eat eggs and butter but not meat.)
First, hardboil your eggs. This isn’t terribly exciting. Add half a dozen eggs to a pan of cold water (if any of them float they’ve gone bad. You’ll want to throw them away and get new eggs). Bring the water to a boil. As soon as it boils, promptly turn off the heat, put a lid on the pan, and leave it alone for the next 10 minutes. After that, just drain the eggs, refill your pot with cold water, and leave them to cool while you work on the rest of the recipe.
If you can find angel hair pasta nests, they make this dish so easy. If you can’t, seriously don’t panic. Just pick up a regular box of angel hair pasta and prepare to get a little personal when twining it into shape. If you can find the nests, the tricky part is making sure you use a gentle hand. Boil the angel hair pasta nests according to the package directions. When the package says not to stir the angel hair nests too heavily, believe it. You want to have nice, neat nests when you’re done, not carefully detangled strands of noodles. Just drop the nests into boiling water, maybe push them under a couple times if they bob to the surface, and otherwise leave them alone while they boil.
Once the pasta nests are finished, carefully lift them from the water with a slotted spoon. Leave them on a plate to cool. If you’re using regular angel hair pasta, don’t worry. It won’t be quite the same, but no one other than me and your own Italian obsessed friend will know the difference.
While the pasta cools, make your nice, simple butter and garlic sauce. All you need to do is melt your butter over a medium heat, add your minced garlic and kosher salt, then cook the garlic for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to turn golden brown. After five minutes, quickly squeeze in your fresh lemon juice, being careful to ensure none of the bitter seeds end up in your sauce. Keep stirring for another minute, then take it off the heat.
Now, carefully arrange your cooled pasta on a serving plate or in a large oval ramekin. If you couldn’t find angel hair nests, spin a generous portion of angel hair around a large fork and make a slightly curly, messy pile in the middle of a plate. You don’t want the pasta to be too smooth and neat. After all, it represents her hair.
Spoon 1/6th (about a tablespoon) of the sauce over your pasta. Snuggle a peeled hard boiled egg in the middle. Go ahead and bury it in the pasta so it looks like the hair is curling all around her face. It already looks a little like River Song. To complete the effect, simply add two small slivers of black olive for the eyes and a bright stripe of roasted red bell pepper for the mouth.
A lot of diners these days are used to the thick, heavy sauces you find at chain restaurants, so you might want to double the sauce and leave the rest on the table so people can ladle more on once they start eating. Extra bell peppers and fresh black pepper also go over well, though everyone agrees they’re best added after you stab poor River in the face. If you have to go zombie on anyone, hers is the no doubt the best possible brain to eat.
This recipe comes with the added bonus of having some protein in it just in case you need to test a shadow for Vashta Nerada while eating your pasta.
You can find plenty of recipes for your Doctor Who viewing party in Dining With The Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook.