I am back after a few days of break. I am sure you all had a delightful Holiday weekend just like mine.
My fall (off the only ONE step outside my front door!) on Friday evening, the failure of the garbage disposal and dishwasher on Saturday and the delay of the gift my husband had bought me, which by the way was worth the wait, could not ruin our plan for a wonderful Holiday!
I have spent many hours in my kitchen, the house smelled great, the food was delicious. My husband and I and our two wonderful sons – oh . . . I shouldn’t forget our two lovely dogs – spent a joyous Christmas Eve at the dinner table. The various courses were intercalated by the unwrapping of our gifts and, let me tell you, Babbo Natale (Father Christmas) has been once again generous, thoughtful and tasteful with everyone.
Even Vera and Luna were happy with their new bed, toys and giant cookies!
After dinner we played board games and just had a good time.
The rest of the weekend was enlightened by more great food and the company of some dear friends, which is always special during the Holidays.
Before I move on to the the Notte di San Silvestro (St. Sylvester’s night – New Years Eve), it is time to keep my promise, so here there are some pics from the Cenone della Vigilia and the recipe of My Calamarata ai frutti di mare (Sea food Calamarata).
Calamarata is a type of pasta typical of the region of Campania. It is a wide tubular pasta that takes its name form the calamari (squids) to which once cut into rings, is very similar in shape. The pasta that I used is from Gragnano (a small town in the Neapolitan area, which is considered the kingdom of pasta making. I will tell you about it in another blog), it is made exclusively with durum wheat semolina and it is extruded through bronze dies. This makes the surface slightly rough, making it more suitable to hold sauces and condiments.
Because of its resemblance to the rings of squid, the typical recipe requires only the use of calamari (squid) so that the pasta and the squids become indistinguishable. In my recipe however, I use different mollusks, and crustaceans.
MY CALAMARATA AI FRUTTI DI MARE
Ingredients for 6
1 pound Calamarata Pasta ( you can substitute with Paccheri)
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound calamari (squid)
3/4 pound large gamberi (shrimp)
2 pound cozze (mussels)
2 pound vongole (clams)
1 steamed lobster tail (optional)
2 garlic cloves crushed and peeled
salt to taste
crushed red pepper to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup hand chopped parsley
In a large pot bring salted water to boil.
Keep in mind that if you use good quality pasta it might take up to 20-25 minutes to cook. This means you can prepare your sauce while the pasta in cooking. Also remember to cook the pasta one minute less than directed on the package.
If your seafood is not already clean start with these steps
Choose the clams and mussels discarding the cracked ones.
Brush the mussels under running water and remove the beard.
Rinse the clams several times in running water. (Tip: to remove any sand present in the clams, add a bit of flour to water and leave to soak the clams for a few minutes. Then proceed with the rinsing process).
Rinse the squids several times, then skin, eviscerate and wash them inside and out and cut into rings slightly larger than the size of the pasta.
Shell the shrimps, devein, rinse and pat dry (if you buy shrimps with head on, remove the heads and keep 6 on the side).
Shell the lobster tail and cut into 1 inch pieces
Now all your seafood is ready.
Put the clams and the mussels in two separate pots over high heat. Let the clams and mussels open, to facilitate the process cover the pots with a lid. Remove from the heat, shell the clams and mussels (keep some in the shell for decoration) and strain the juice through a sieve and set aside. Keep the clams and mussels warm (pour a little juice over the clams and mussels to prevent drying out).
In a pan large enough to hold the seafood and the pasta, heat the oil, add the crushed garlic, the crushed red pepper and a little salt. Fry until the garlic is slightly gold. You can remove the garlic now.
Add the cherry tomatoes and the squids and cook for 10 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, to keep the sauce moist, add a little of the juice that you had reserved.
After 10 minutes add the lobster tail and the shrimp and cook 3 minutes. Keep adding juice as necessary.
Meanwhile your pasta has been cooking in salted boiling water.
It is time now to add the mussels, clams, hand chopped parsley and a little more juice. Stir together and cook 2 minutes.
Lastly add the unshelled clams and mussels, more juice and freshly ground black pepper and fate saltare ( make the pasta jump – slightly fry) the pasta for a minute shaking the pan. When all the condiment has completely coated the pasta, remove from heat and sprinkle with fresh hand chopped parsley.
I would love to hear about your Holiday weekend and your plans for New Year ‘s Eve, what’s your tradition?