Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A favourite Italian recipe: seafood linguine

Dinner “al fresco” on our anniversary!
Special occasions call for special meals. Our anniversary is one of those very special occasions. Actually, the anniversary Vicki and I celebrate is the date on which we fell in love: June 20, 1970.

We were at Playland in Rye, New York, sitting on the boardwalk and looking out over the Long Island Sound. The June evening was perfect. She turned to me and said, “I love you.” I’d already been in love with her for a week or more but had been hesitant to proclaim it. You know how I answered back since we’re still together 46 years later.

Now this post is months later than it should be but back in June we had other concerns and even though we did celebrate this important day, I didn’t have time to write about it. Today is that day!

We don’t go out to restaurants for important meals because we can generally dine better at home for a lot less money. We’d rather spend out money on great ingredients and fine wines, than having someone else cook for us. Since we have a lovely backyard and June 20th was a very fine day here in Toronto this year, I simply asked Vicki what she would like me to make. “Seafood linguine!” was her immediate two-word response.

I’ve made this recipe many times over the years, and can vouch for the fact that it’s easy to make — if you follow the directions. And absolutely delicious — if you like seafood.

And you don’t need to wait for a “big evening” to make this!

Seafood Linguine
Serves 4

2 Tbs    olive oil
3           shallots, chopped
3           garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 tsp     lemon rind, grated
½ tsp    red chili pepper flakes
2 Tbs    fresh parsley, chopped finely
12         large shrimp
6           dry scallops, cut into quarters or thirds (if they’re really large)
             salt and pepper to taste
½ cup   dry white wine
2 lbs     mussels
1          28-oz can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup   fresh basil, shredded
1 lb      linguine

  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add shallots and garlic and sauté for 1 minute or until softened slightly, then add lemon rind, parsley, shrimps and scallops.
  2. Sauté together until shrimps just turn pink and scallops are translucent – about 1-2 minutes. Remove from skillet with slotted spoon. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Add wine to skillet, bring to a boil and add the mussels. Cover and steam until they open (about 3 minutes). Remove mussels from skillet and reserve with shrimps and scallops. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Remove mussel meats from half the mussels, leaving the rest in their shells.
  4. Put tomatoes and chili flakes into skillet and bring to a boil. Stir in 2 Tbs of basil and simmer for 10 minutes to combine flavors. Season with salt and pepper. (Your sauce can be made ahead to this point.)
  5. When ready to serve: cook pasta until al dente (about 10-12 minutes) in lots of boiling salted water. Drain well.
  6. As pasta is nearing doneness, return the seafood to the sauce, sprinkle in remaining basil and reheat. Toss with pasta and serve.
Don’t serve this dish with grated cheese! In Italy cheese is seldom served with Parmigiano or any other cheese.

The recipe source is a very old issue of Food & Drink, the magazine of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.