Sunday, May 17, 2009

Linguine Gamberi e Zucchine

I purchased this "Fara S. Martino" linguine pasta at the basement of Central Clarke Quay, by the pasta counter. They have quite a few western products, including a good range of good dry pasta brands. "Fara S. Martino" is well known in Italy for its quality, and it's quite inexpensive.

Linguine are best suited for seafood sauces, so I decided to test them with a simple and classic recipe. I purchased the following ingredients from cold storage (for 2 people):
  • Clams
  • Peeled prawns
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • Italian flat leaf parsley (packet)
  • 1 Lemon
For the preparation, blanch the two tomatoes in boiling water for 20 seconds, cool them in running cold water and remove the skin. Slice into 2, remove seeds, then chop into cubes, arrange them onto a foil placed into a baking tray and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for about 15 minutes.
Chop the parsley, peel 2 cloves of garlic and squash them. Peel a couple of shallots and chop them finely. Wash the zucchini and cut them into julienne strips. Grate a pinch of lemon zest. Wash clams and lightly salt the prawns.

While you bring a saucepan of water to the boil to cook the pasta, heat up a skillet and start preparing the sauce. Put a good amount of olive oil into the skillet, then cook the prawns for less than a minute maintaining their juiciness (depending on their size) and put aside.

Put the linguine into the salted boiling water and stir regularly while you start making the sauce. It is important that you don't let the pasta or the sauce sit aside for too long. Linguine take about 10 minutes to cook, and it should take no longer than that to cook the sauce.

Add the garlic cloves and shallots into the oil, bring the color out and add some optional chili flakes. Pour the clams into the skillet and cover.
When the clams start to open, pour some white wine and let evaporate quickly on medium-high heat. Add some fish stock if you have it, the parsley and a pinch of the grated lemon zest together with a pinch of salt. Cover again and continue to cook and shake the skillet until the clams are wide open. Add the zucchini and the chopped tomatoes, stir while cooking for about 30 seconds or so (depending on the thickness of the strips) and remove from the heat.

When the pasta is ready, put the sauce back on the heat into a large frying pan, pour a few tablespoons of the pasta water into the sauce, drain the pasta (but not too thoroughly) and saute' with the sauce until the juices are partially evaporated to the right consistency.
Be careful at this stage, as you don't want to overcook the pasta nor evaporate too much of the sauce or else you will end up with an overcooked, sticky pasta. Arrange on a plate and top with the prawns.

I found these linguine nice and firm in texture. They hold well the cooking time and they are ideal for olive oil based seafood sauces.

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