Every region in Italy has its own pasta shapes. Sometimes shapes that look very similar have a completely different name. There are so many different pasta shapes, that I keep discovering new ones even in regions that I’ve visited before. On the tip of the Sorrento peninsula (with the Amalfi coast on the south) we spent the lovely day at a rocky beach called Capitan Cook. The food or service in the restaurant were not spectacular, but good enough and the views certainly were spectacular. (The house wine was served with peaches in it. I didn’t feel like having wine with peaches in it, so I asked it without peaches. After tasting I understood why the peaches were needed. We then ordered a bottle of wine instead.)
There we had a dish called scialatielli ai frutti di mare, where in this case the frutti di mare consisted of clams and mussels. Scialatielli is fresh pasta made from semolina flour and water, and shaped as long rectangles, and typical to this part of Campania. When I came home, this was one of the first dishes I recreated from memory. Despite the lack of view it was just as good, if not better. Here is what I did…
For 2 servings
fresh pasta dough made using 200 grams of semolina flour and about 120 ml (1/2 cup) water, click here for instructions
500 grams (1.1 lbs) mussels
500 grams (1.1 lbs) clams (preferably vongole veraci)
300 grams (0.66 lb) cherry tomatoes, halved
120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
minced fresh flat leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Roll the pasta out into sheets, using a rolling pin or a pasta machine (like I did). I rolled it out to a thickness of “7” with “9” the thinnest setting.
Cut the pasta into rectangles of 10-15 cm long (4-6 inches) and 1.5 cm wide (2/3 inch).
Make sure the mussels and clams are cleaned, purged of sand, and still alive. Discard any open shells. Put the mussels and clams in a pan and add the white wine.
Cover and bring to a boil.
Cook until the shells have opened, but not longer.
Strain the liquid from the shells into a bowl.
Filter the liquid through kitchen paper. Take most of the clams and mussels out of their shells, but reserve a dozen or so of each in the shell for garnish.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and cook over medium heat until the garlic is golden.
Add the cherry tomatoes, and stir over medium-high heat for a minute.
Add the filtered clam and mussel juice, and bring to a boil.
When the water for the pasta boils, add salt and the scialatielli. Cook them until they are still a bit shy of al dente, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, allow the juice with the tomatoes to reduce over medium-high heat.
Discard the garlic…
…and then add the pasta…
…together with the mussels and clams.
Stir over medium-high heat until the pasta is coated with the sauce and the clams and mussels have heated through.
Serve on preheated plates, garnished with parsley.
Five-spice duck with cabbage and noodles is a very tasty Asian-inspired dish.