London 04thth July 2012 – During the long hot summer in my hometown, Rome, Italians love to go to the local beaches to enjoy the fresh breeze. Along the coast there are many small restaurants which, at lunch time, simmer seafood sauces and grill fish caught daily by local fisherman.
Eating seafood on a warm day reminds me being in Rome during the summer.
I asked to upload a recipe on Ariosto’s website (the most popular Italian producer of spices) and Ariosto kindly sent me a few samples of their spices. Amongst the samples I found saffron (zafferano). This is actually the first time I use saffron, as saffron is not a typical roman ingredient. I love the intense, warm golden yellow colour and the subtle bitter/sweet flavour. I combined it with prawns and squids, and the result was a delicate and bright creamy sauce.
This is a simple but very flavoursome dish. The secret to a successful result is to use good quality seafood and respect the cooking time in order to avoid overcooking the prawns and to stop the cream from splitting.
Recipe with step by step pictures
PASTA CON GAMBERI, CALAMARI E ZAFFERANO
(prawns, squids and saffron sauce)
SERVES 4, PREP 10 MINUTES, COOK 17 MINS
250g raw king prawns, peeled, heads and tails removed
2 small squids, clean and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
5tb extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp double cream
320g gnocchi sardi (typical durum pasta from Sardinia)
Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large pan and add the garlic, fry for 3 – 4 minutes or until the garlic is soft.
Add the squid and stir fry over low heat for 8 minutes.
Add the prawns, season with salt and pepper and stir fry over a medium heat for 3 minutes.
Add the cream and the saffron diluted in a tablespoon of water; mix gently for further 2 minutes and remove from the heat.
Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain the pasta al dente (firm to the bite) but reserve a tablespoon of the pasta-cooking water.
Add the pasta to the saffron sauce; gently mix so all pasta is covered in sauce (add the tablespoon of the pasta-cooking water to the pasta if you need to loosen the sauce).
Serve sprinkled with basil leaves.
Disclosure: Ariosto kindly sent me few samples of their spices. The recipe and any opinion expressed were my own.