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Cover: Mamma Mia!

Recipes with red chilli

22Jul 12

Chilli Crab Spaghetti

Chilli Crab SpaghettiCrab is obviously just one of the many delicious and varied ‘frutti di mare’, or ‘fruits of the sea’ commonly found in Italian food. And, given that almost all of Italy’s regions have stretches of coast, it’s no wonder our rich seafood is omnipresent in our cuisine.

And, of course, feel free to switch out spaghetti for any other similar pasta like tagliatelli or fettucine. Any of those options would work.

A similar-tasting meat is crayfish meat, which are only found in fresh water. If you want to try out a recipe using crayfish, try this crayfish rice with mango recipe.

Like some other of my recipes in the blog, you can start off with the pasta, as the whole meal is done very quickly, whilst the pasta cooks.

A light, leafy green salad, using something like iceberg lettuce or Romaine (also known as Cos) lettuce, makes a good accompaniment to this dish, as would a dry white wine. A floral French Bordeaux wine would be one option, whilst the more flinty taste of Chablis, from Burgundy, would be another. Despite the differences, either type of wine pairs up nicely with crab, I think.

Chilli Crab Spaghetti
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
This is also yet another example of simple and quick pasta that is light and delicious
Ingredients
  • 50ml olive oil (extra virgin is best)
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced into thin strips (set aside some fronds for use as garnish)
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced paper-thin
  • 1 red chilli (fresh), deseeded and finely chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • A handful of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 50ml dry vermouth
  • The juice of ½ a lemon
  • 150g fresh crab meat
  • 200g spaghetti
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook according to the packet instructions, in a large pan of lightly salted water, till the pasta is al dente.
  2. Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan over a low heat. Add the garlic, chilli and fennel, and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the crab meat, and cook for a minute or so before adding the vermouth. Turn up the heat, bringing the liquor to the boil. Reduce for a couple of minutes, until most of the liquor has evaporated.
  3. Remove from the heat, add the remaining oil, the juice of half a lemon, and season. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  4. Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Add the chilli/crab mixture and stir it all together. Serve to warm plates, garnished with the cherry tomatoes and fennel fronds or parsley.

 

 

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21Jun 12

Clam Linguine

Clam LinguineThis is another of those dishes that have simple, humble origins, but can now often cost top dollar in fancy restaurants.

Some form of rustic herb-bread, ideally something chunky with rosemary or sun-dried tomatoes in it makes a good accompaniment. Try this rosemary focaccia bread.

Have some extra-virgin olive oil handy as well, preferably in a jug or decanter with a spout; sprinkling some extra-virgin olive over the pasta and clams really binds the flavours together.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  •  Several cloves of garlic (according to taste), peeled and very thinly sliced
  •  1/2 lemon
  •  1 dried red chilli, finely chopped
  •  1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  •  200g linguine pasta
  •  500g clams* (buy these alive from your fishmonger)
  •  Salt, pepper and extra-virgin olive oil.

* Fresh clams need preparing: wash them in cold running water, throwing away any with broken shells, or if they’ve died (if they don’t close up when you tap them). Remove their ‘beards’ and thoroughly clean the shells. Soak in a bowl of cold water for half an hour before washing them under the tap again. Refrigerate in a covered bowl, but ideally use them straight away. When they go into the pan, they should all be closed, any that aren’t, discard.

Method:

1 – In a large deep frying pan, heat the oil at a low setting before adding the garlic and chilli. They need to thoroughly infuse the oil, which will take 5-10 minutes. Be sure the heat is very low as you don’t want to burn them, or they’ll taste bitter. If need be, remove from the heat and set aside covered, where the heat from the oil will do the job.

2 – While the oil’s infusing, get your pasta going in another pan. Timing is important with this deceptively simple dish. Don’t start step three too soon!

3 – Once your pasta’s half or two-thirds of the way to being cooked perfectly ‘al dente’, put your clams into the frying pan with the garlic and chilli-infused oil, increase the heat and cook them, stirring occasionally, until they open. This should only be a matter of minutes; you don’t want them (or your pasta) overdone, so don’t rush into this step too early or leave it too late!

4 – Drain the pasta water, reserving a ladle-full (two or three tablespoonfuls), and then mix everything together in the large frying pan. Squeeze some juice from the lemon over it all, season with a little salt and pepper, serve and enjoy!

Serves: 2

Total time: 45 minutes (20 minutes preparation; 25 minutes cooking)

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About Gianluca Dievole

My Badge: Assistant

About

Buon' giorno! Welcome to my Italian food blog. I am Italian, and proud of it! Italy has so much going for it: with one foot quite literally in the beautiful Mediterranean, my country’s climate and location give us an amazing cornucopia of ingredients, which is why our culture is steeped in a hearty romantic culinary tradition. My wife and I love our food, so all my recipes are designed for two. If you're cooking for an average sized modern family - perhaps not the traditional extended Italian family - just double the quantities.