Spelt Spaghetti with Kombu and Onion Broth
Chef Michael Anthony fortifies the deeply flavored broth for this dish with caramelized onions and kombu, an edible dried kelp commonly used in Japanese cooking.
Yield: serves 4-6
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 onions, thinly sliced
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
- 1⁄4 cup madeira
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 1⁄2 tsp. black peppercorns
- 3 small sprigs fresh thym
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp. white soy sauce
- 1 (1½″) piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 (5″) piece kombu
- 8 oz. spaghetti, preferably made with spelt
- 1 oz. shelled sea urchin (optional)
- Heat 2 tbsp. oil in an 8-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, shallots, garlic, half the leeks, and ½ cup water, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often (add a little more water, if necessary, to keep the onions from burning), until onion mixture is deeply caramelized, about 1 hour. Add vinegar; cook, stirring, until evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add madeira and repeat. Add stock, peppercorns, 1 sprig thyme, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until mixture reduces by a third, about 1 hour. Remove pot from heat; add remaining thyme, soy, ginger, and kombu. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Set a fine strainer over a 3-qt. pot and strain broth, discarding solids; season with salt, set aside, and keep hot.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook, stirring, until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain spaghetti and divide between 4 deep, warm serving bowls. Heat remaining oil in a 12″ skillet over high heat. Add the remaining leeks and cook, flipping once, until the leeks are browned, about 4 minutes. Top spaghetti with leeks and ladle hot broth into each bowl. Garnish with sea urchin, if you like, and serve immediately.