The big decision when making pasta with seafood is whether to add tomato (“in rosso“) or to make it “white” (“in bianco“). Although I love it both ways, there’s something more delicate about the sauce without tomatoes. My mother always flavored hers with oregano and bay leaves from Italy.
Since I have both of those ingredients from her last trip to Italy a year ago, I’m going to use the non-tomato method. It’s very simple: lots of onions (I’m using shallots today), some garlic (only a clove), parsley, white wine and oregano and bay leaves. I also add a touch of chicken broth to give the sauce a richer flavor (although you can use your well-salted pasta cooking liquid instead.)
Today, I’ve chosen three types of seafood: scallops, shrimp and skate.
Skate is a great fish to use in this dish, because it practically falls apart, giving the sauce additonal body and brininess. It’s also caught in local waters here on the east end of Long Island.
Assuming your ingredients are all prepped and the seafood is all cut into bite-size pieces, the sauce for this dish can be made in the time it takes to boil the pasta.
Simply heat a large skillet with olive oil on high heat and add the seafood. Saute for about a minute, just until the seafood begins to lose its raw pink color. Remove immediately and set aside. Add the aromatics and saute for another minute, along with the wine, then stock. The seafood gets added back in during the last minute of cooking time, along with a generous sprinkle of parsley.
This is a hearty main-course pasta dish–the only other thing required would be a salad or vegetable. To carry the Calabrese them to our accompaniment, I’ve made simply broccoli di rapa with garlic and chili flakes.
This is southern Italian summer dining at its best!
Pasta with Seafood, Calabrese Style
serves 4 generously
1 lb dried linguine
1/4 c + 1 tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb sea scallops, cut into quarters
1/3 lb shrimp, peeled and de-veined, cut into thirds
1/2 lb skate filets, sliced crosswise into strips approximately 1″ wide
2 medium shallots, diced finely
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
1/2 c white wine
1 c chicken broth
1 tsp dried oregano
3 bay leaves
2 tbls chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
salt to taste
While pasta boils, place a large skillet on high heat. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and heat until smoking. Add seafood, sprinkle with salt and saute for a minute, just until translucent–not fully cooked. Remove seafood from skillet and set aside.
Add shallots and garlic to skillet, stirring and mixing up any brown bits left by the seafood. Add chili flakes, oregano and bay leaves and continue sauteing for another minute.
Add white wine and reduce for 30 seconds. Add broth and simmer until pasta is a minute shy of done.
Add back seafood to sauce, along parsley. Stir and saute for a minute.
Add pasta and some pasta water if necessary to keep the sauce soupy. Taste for salt and serve immediately.