Orecchiette ai frutti di mare

June 7, 2006

A few weeks ago we had couple of friends for dinner (Noushine and Olivier).  It was a nice sunny evening so I was looking forward to cooking a summery dish. After looking at whether I had some “special” pasta around I ended up with a package of “orecchiette” in my hands.  Perfect…I was going to cook it with fresh seafood (in Italian “frutti di mare” usually stands mostly for shellfish).

I headed off to the fish market and got some good fresh ingrendients.  The list is very simple:

  • 1 pound of orecchiette
  • 1 pound of clams
  • half pound of mussells
  • 8-10 prawns
  • half pound of shrimp meat 
  • half pound of the small scallops
  • half pound of fresh calamari (frozen steaks work too)
  • 4 fresh tomatoes
  • just a bit of fresh chilly pepper
  • half-cup white wine
  • one third of cup extra virgin olive oil
  • about 3 cloves of garlic 
  • pepper, salt

Looking at the ingredients couple of things come to mind (1) this is not a tomato-based sauce (2) I use the fresh tomatoes to give it a touch of freshness and texture (3) DO NOT USE CREAM  – PLEASE (unless you buy really bad seafood…bad idea in the first place!)

The cool thing of the recipe is that there is not much preparation required and it really takes 30mins to do the all thing.   You just want to make sure that you have sometime to take care of the mussells and clams (see the previous entry about how to make guazzatto for directions on how to pre this shellfish).

Ok…let’s make the sauce.

  1. In a sauce pot start with the olive oil, the garlic (chopped not too fine), some white wine, pour the mussell and clams (and a bit of the fresh chilly pepper).  Get the fire going at medium heat.
  2. When the clams open and start releasing water let is cooked for a minute (rather less than more).  You will see a nice soupy/watery in the pot…you want to save some of it (about half cup).  This is going to be used later.
  3. At this point add the prawns. After about 1 minute go ahead and add the scallops, the shrimp meat and the calamari.
  4. In about a minute add the chopped tomatoes.  At this point your magic sauce is going to look something like: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51009806@N00/149139278/in/set-72057594139056373/
  5. Another minute put the clams\mussell liquid back
  6. Let everything come together for another minute
  7. Add the cooked orecchiette (which you started cooking about 15mins ago on a different pot)
  8. Let everything come together for a minute (add the fresh pepper and italian parsley)
  9. You are done!

The final result: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51009806@N00/149139315/in/set-72057594139056373/

Let me know how it goes!


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