Positano Inspired Seafood Pasta
My family and I visited Spain and Italy this summer. I was so inspired by the food, drink and the culture we experienced. The food in Italy was not what I expected. I found it to be simplistic, not in a negative way. I think in the United States we add more cream and coat our pasta with more sauce. In Italy the pastas texture is by far and away better than what we experience in the states. The sauce lightly dresses the pasta and the use of olive oil is in the forefront of the flavors you taste. One of my favorite meals was in the Campania region of Italy, Positano. This should be of know surprise since the Campania region is known for their volcanic fertile soil. Mount Vesuvius blesses this region because it’s soil produces some of the best tasting tomatoes, lemons and buffalo mozzarella. The charming vertical city of Positano is a coastal town along the Amalfi coast.
The best meal we had all vacation was at Chez Black Restaurant. If you visit Positano you can’t miss it. Chez Black is beachfront encircled by terraces of homes and hotels rising on the limestone mountains of the Amalfi Coast. I ordered the seafood pasta and a glass of white wine.
The pasta and seafood were perfectly cooked. The sauce was a mixture of pomodoro, seafood flavor and olive oil. The white wine was crisp and refreshing and a perfect counterpoint to my dish. After eating I went shopping and found the perfect made in Italy Ceramic Dish to recreate this meal with.
We dipped out feet in the ocean then grabbed some gelato on our way out. It was absolutely perfect.
After being home for a week and adjusting to the time change. I was determined to recreate my seafood pasta. What I came up with is almost exactly the same flavors I remember.
Time- 40 minutes
1 lb of high grade Italian spaghetti from Italy, 2 cups of pomodoro sauce, 1 1/2 cups of white wine, 1/2 cup of jarred clam juice, 3 TBS of shallots diced, 1 TBS of chopped fresh fennel, 2 garlic cloves chopped, 1/2 Serrano pepper chopped, zest of 1 lemon, olive oil to coat pan and handful of parsley chopped.
The amount of seafood depends on the amount of people you are cooking for. Here is a guideline I like to follow.
2 scallops, 2 shrimp, 3 mussels, 3 little neck clams per person. This is just a guide so add whatever seafood you enjoy. However, the shellfish are very important they add the pot liquor that makes this dish delicious.
It’s very important to prep all the ingredients before cooking. In a bowl of ice water scrub and debeard the shellfish. Chop all the shallots, garlic, serrano pepper, fennel, and parsley. Pat dry the scallops and shrimp with a paper towel. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. In a large skillet coat the pan with olive oil and turn to medium heat. When oil is hot season shrimp and scallops with salt and pan fry. The shrimp will be ready in 2-3 minutes. The scallops may take a little longer.
When shrimp and scallops are golden brown set aside on platter.
Using the same skillet add the shallots, serrano peppers, fennel and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes then add mussels, clams, wine, clam juice and turn burner to high and cover with lid and bring to a boil.
When your large pot of water comes to a boil season water with kosher salt and drop pasta and cook for 7 minutes.
Once the pot is at it’s boiling point the shellfish will open in approximately 4 minutes. Shake the pan with lid on to help the shellfish open. Lift lid and any shellfish that didn’t open discard occasionally clams may take more time if you are using manilla clams. Give it a couple more minutes but if they don’t open they are dead and throw away the clam. Once all the shellfish is cooked add the pomodoro sauce. When pasta is ready drain and add to the skillet and mix together. Return scallops and shrimp to the dish and finish with lemon zest, parsley and drizzle some finishing olive oil. Transfer to serving platter.
- If you are not using your own pomodoro I vouch that this brand of jarred sauce works great. I can’t speak to any other jarred sauce. San Marzano pomodoro. You can find it on Amazon or Whole Foods.
2. When platting add another drizzle of olive oil to pasta. You should taste it on your lips when you eat the pasta.