“Occhi Rossi” – Barilla Thick Spaghetti with Red Eye Gravy, Gulf Shrimp, Country Ham, and Fried Okra

  • Servings : 25
  • Prep Time : 0m
  • Cook Time : 0m
  • Ready In : 0m

Whether it’s in traditional kugels at Brooklyn diners, or simple bowls of spaghetti and meatballs all over the country, pasta has long been a staple on the diner scene. This dish from Barilla Chef Yury Krasilovsky brings together the diner classic coffee-infused “red eye” gravy, made with traditional country ham, and elevates it with head-on shrimp and cornmeal-battered okra. Barilla Thick Spaghetti soaks up the sauce and provides an Italian “al dente” accent.


Step 1

Cook the Barilla® pasta for half the time indicated on the package. Drain pasta and drizzle with some olive oil to prevent from sticking. Place pasta flat on sheet trays or hotel pans and cool in a blast chiller. Alternatively, cool it down in a walk-in cooler. Store in zip lock bags or sealed plastic container; refrigerate and use within several hours.

Step 2

For each serving, to order: Heat 1/2 Tbsp butter in a skillet and fry 1 oz ham until it's crispy. Remove the ham, leaving in the fat. Add 1/4 c coffee and 2 Tbsp water, scraping up the bits in the pan. Simmer to reduce slightly and season with salt and pepper.

Step 3

Reheat about 2 cups pasta in simmering water. Drain and add it to the skillet with the gravy.

Step 4

Toss 2 Tbsp buttermilk with 2 oz okra, then coat it in 2 Tbsp cornmeal. Deep-fry until crisp. Season with salt.

Step 5

In another skillet, melt 1/2 Tbsp butter and season 2 shrimp with salt and pepper. Sear them in the pan until just cooked through.

Step 6

Fold 2 Tbsp cheese into the pasta and plate it. Set the shrimp on top, garnished with the okra and ham.


  • 6 lb. Barillla Thick Spaghetti
  • 12 1/2 oz. butter
  • 1 1/2 lb. thinly sliced country ham
  • 6 1/4 c. black coffee
  • 3 lb. okra pods, sliced in thirds
  • 3 c. buttermilk
  • 3 c. cornmeal
  • 3 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 50 head-on Gulf shrimp, shelled
Chef Recommended Cuts
  • Linguine
  • Spaghetti
  • Thick Spaghetti
Related Recipes:
  • Braised Short Rib Penne

  • Rigatoni Sausage Caponata

  • Baked Orzotto with Cavallo Nero and Spring Peas

  • Campanelle al Salmone

  • Barilla Elbow Mac and Cheese with Turmeric and Roasted Cauliflower

Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1
Servings Per Container serving

Amount Per Serving
Calories 696
Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g
Saturated Fat 9g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 86mg
Sodium 1326mg
Total Carbohydrate 104g
Dietary Fiber 14g
Sugars 6g
Protein 29g

Vitamin A 14%
Vitamin C 20%
Calcium 21%
Iron 23%
Allergy Information:
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Please note: for the purpose of the nutritional assessment, total sodium does not include salt added to the cooking water. When salt is listed "as needed" in the ingredient list, 1 tsp total is included in the analysis.