I have a confession: there is a distinct possibility that pasta might be boring me ever so slightly. This isn’t so much against the pasta itself so much as I find myself a little bored with sauces. It’s summer, so the default topping I always seem to fall back on is some combination of tomato, basil and mozzarella–all good things, believe me, but I don’t want to burn out on that trifecta before August when the really good tomatoes are in the market. Defaulting back to my favorite ragus aren’t really an option either, because they are far too heavy after a hot day.
Finding no inspiration in our cookbooks (I think this is a sign I should get a pasta-centric one, don’t you?) I turned to the New York Times. (Aside: can we discuss how awful this ad is? It’s like they decided to unironically pay homage to every infuriating stereotype about pretentious New Yorkers ever in 30 seconds, and make them sound like the American extras in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. These responses to it, on the other hand, are absolutely hysterical.) I probably used up the monthly allotted clicks on my searching mission, but it was totally worth it.
We took the recipe as a basis for some fun improvisation, using the liquor we had on hand and the shellfish we were in the mood to buy. I had to incorporate squid to get Michael fully onboard (he is a sucker for anything squid-related) and we ended up using bay scallops as the dry sea scallops were fairly pricey, but the whole thing ended up being totally delicious because we understood how long our substitutions had to cook and adjusted accordingly.
Putting everything into a foil packet seems like a lot of work to only steam it for a few minutes, but it’s better than trying to wrestle a pan that’s brimming with shellfish and pasta, and the technique works well to meld all of the flavors together. Just use heavy-duty foil if you can as the packet is heavy (and big) and it’ll help you avoid spilling the sauce all over your baking sheet.
It was just the right change of pace I was looking for, and it’s kind of perfect for this weekend of fun and food.
Pericatelli con Frutti di Mare
Adapted from The New York Times
- 1/2 lb shirmp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 lb scallops (we used bay, but sea scallops are preferred)
- 4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 8oz bottle clam juice
- 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons white vermouth
- 12 littleneck clams, scrubbed clean
- 1/2 lb squid, cleaned and cut into rings
- 1 lb pericatelli (or linguine)
- Kosher salt