Seafood Pasta

A Christmas dinner of seafood pasta is becoming a tradition with us. Several years ago I made a seafood pie, but while most tasty, it was calorically dense and fairly heavy with lots of cream. A bit more healthy alternative came in the form of seafood pasta with much less in the way of fats required for cooking. In fact, other than a quick shot of non-stick cooking spray, no added fat is required for this dish at all. You can use any type of seafood for this, but I prefer shellfish and crustaceans for our seafood pasta.

1 lobster tail
4 large scallops
4-6 oz crab meat.
Fresh or dried pasta (tagliatelle)
6-8 fresh large tomatoes (or 1 box strained tomatoes)
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
4-6 oz sun dried tomato paste in tube or can
2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 5 anchovies
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons oregano
1 bunch fresh basil (chopped)
Crimini or button mushrooms (sliced)
Cluster oyster mushrooms (sliced)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
1 teaspoon salt
6 green olives (chopped)
6 Kalamata olives (chopped)
2-3 bottled piquillo peppers (chopped)
1 large shallot (minced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
Serves 4

For vegetarian pasta (and this does make for a fine vegetarian pasta), skip the seafood and add lots of mushrooms (oyster, enoki lobster, morels, etc…). Otherwise, prepare the lobster tail and scallops before hand by shelling the scallops, preparing the adductor muscle or simply washing freshly prepared scallops and then removing the lobster tail from its shell by cutting the membrane off the underside of the tail with a kitchen shears and then peeling the lobster meat out of the tail.

You will need to start the sauce by slicing up your fresh tomatoes and placing them into a large sauce pan or wide saute pan. I use a 3-4 qt saute pan. Alternatively, you can use a quart sized box of stewed tomatoes from a reputable company like Parmalat. Begin cooking down your tomatoes until they start coming apart. At this point, strain the tomato seeds and skins. While the tomatoes are out of the pan start sautéing the shallots and garlic in olive oil, then return the cooked tomatoes to the pan and begin layering the flavors by sequentially adding in the following ingredients letting each cook for approximately ten minutes in between ingredients: green olives, mushrooms, oregano, tube of sun dried tomato paste, the anchovy paste (or 2-3 anchovies), the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, salt, white pepper, Parmigiano Reggiano, parsley, fresh basil and finally oyster mushrooms and salt.

About 30 minutes into the sauce preparation, start a large pot of water boiling (4-5 quarts) and at salt to the water as this is your only chance to flavor the pasta. When water is at full boil, add the pasta.

Most people overcook seafood, especially scallops and lobster. So, approximately 10 minutes into cooking the pasta, place the lobster tail into a hot skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Flash cook the outside of the lobster tail briefly on all sides, then remove from the tail from the pan to a cutting board where you are going to cut the lobster tail into medallions. The lobster medallions will then go back into the hot pan along with the scallops to finish cooking. Cook one side then flip to the other side, flipping the scallops and medallions only once. Again, the trick is to not cook them too much as it will toughen the seafood. Once you are used to cooking seafood, you will know by the touch when it is done, but when you are starting, don’t be afraid to cut the scallop or lobster medallion open to see if they are finished cooking. When they are done, the lobster and scallop should no longer be translucent.

Just before flipping the scallops and lobster for cooking on the other side, the sauce and pasta should be done. When the pasta is complete, drain the water and toss the pasta into the sauce to cover the pasta completely with sauce and then plate. After final cooking of the seafood, place the seafood on the plate and garnish with chopped fresh flat leaf parsley and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Enjoy it with a lovely glass of wine. I recommend an Amisfeld 2003 Pinot Noir.

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