This is an elegant seafood pasta that I like to prepare. As always, the quality of the ingredients means a great deal. I used fresh scampi, but you could also substitute with jumbo shrimp as long as they are ‘wild caught’ and have the heads and shells to make some wonderful shrimp stock. Frozen scampi or shrimp are also fine, but the scallops must be fresh (since frozen scallops release too much water when you try to sauté them). The delicate flavors of scallops and scampi or shrimp go well with fresh tomatoes, zucchini and basil and just a tiny pinch of red pepper. No garlic or other bold flavors in here! Linguine are a favorite for seafood pasta, with a nicely smooth texture that is slightly different from regular spaghetti.
For 2 servings
150-200 grams (1/3-1/2 pound) linguine (or substitute with spaghetti)
150 grams (1/3 pound) fresh sea scallops (not frozen)
300 grams (2/3 pound) scampi or jumbo shrimp, with heads and shells (fresh or frozen)
2 small (or 1 large) zucchini (courgette)
450 grams (1 pound) plum tomatoes
parsley stalks (optional)
pinch of red pepper flakes or crumbled dried chile pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Peel the scampi or shrimp and reserve the heads and shells. Sauté the heads and shells in a bit of olive oil until they are pink.
Add just enough water to cover and season with a pinch of red pepper flakes or crumbled dried chile pepper. If you have some leftover parsley stalks (or parsley that is a bit limp), chop and add as well. Let this simmer for about half an hour to make shrimp stock.
Drain and catch the shrimp stock.
Let this simmer until it is very concentrated and there are only a few tablespoons left.
Meanwhile, wash and dry the zucchini, cut off both ends, and cut into cubes (brunoise).
Bring a pot of water to a boil (use the same pot that you will use to cook the pasta later). Fill your sink or a bowl with cold water. With a sharp knife, cut a cross in the end of each tomato.
When the water boils, put in the tomatoes for 10-30 seconds until you see the skin coming off.
Take the tomatoes out of the pot with a slotted spoon and cool them in the cold water.
Take off the skins.
Cut each tomato in half crosswise and take out the seeds with your fingers (or a small spoon, but fingers is easier).
Cut the tough part out where the tomato was attached to the plant and discard.
Chop tomatoes roughly.
Chop scallops and scampi or shrimp and pat dry with paper towels.
Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. When the oil is hot, add the scampi or shrimp and sauté for one minute, not longer. Take the scampi or shrimp out of the pan, season lightly with salt and set aside.
Now add the scallops to the same pan and sauté for one or two minutes until golden. Take the scallops out of the pan, season lightly with salt and set aside.
Add zucchini, season lightly with salt and sauté until golden on all sides.
Meanwhile, bring the large pot of water back to boiling and add salt and linguine. Cook the linguine al dente according to package instructions.
As soon as the zucchini are golden, add the chopped tomatoes and increase the heat.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sauce has a nice thick and chunky consistency (rather than watery).
Lower the heat. Add the scampi or shrimp, scallops and concentrated shrimp stock.
When the pasta is ready, drain and add to the sauce. Toss to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt.
Serve on warm plates with some fresh basil leaves. (Do not even dream of putting grated parmigiano on this!)
An alternative, less rustic, presentation would be to sauté the tomatoes separately in some olive oil until it’s no longer watery. Add the concentrated shrimp stock and toss the linguine only in this shrimp-tomato sauce. Add the reserved seafood to the linguine and warm up briefly over low heat. Serve the linguine on warm plates, topped with the zucchini and seafood and some fresh basil leaves.
This pairs well with most unoaked complex but elegant Italian whites, such as Greco di Tufo from Campania.