No where does this idiom ring truer than in the cooking of seafood and pasta. Although it seems fairly simple and quick, to really excel in cooking both foods, you really need to do your homework. Boiling pasta is never as simple as adding it to water and draining but instead involves salting the water and remaining ever watchful to make sure it’s not overcooked and mushy, not to mention keeping some of the leftover pasta water for later.
The same with seafood as every fillet of fish, prawn, shrimp, cut of calamari or octopus, and shellfish has it’s own unique cooking time. If you don’t pay attention, you risk rubbery, overcooked tentacles and no one wants that. Although this pasta dish looks pretty simple to make you’ll only succeed in making it truly tasty if you give it the care and attention it deserves. Take your time with the garlic, red pepper and olive oil. Handle the seafood with care and keep a watchful eye on both the pasta and the clock. Your reward if you succeed will not only be impressing yourself with your culinary prowess but also your fellow dinner guests with a delicious plate of spicy seafood linguine.
1 tsp-2 tsp red pepper flakes (depends on your preference for heat)
1/2 cup (120ml) white wine
10-12 medium to large sized shrimps or prawns (peeled and deveined)
1 squid (cleaned, prepared and cut into bite sized pieces)
1 large fillet of white ocean fish (John Dory, halibut, haddock)
400 g (about 14 oz) uncooked linguine
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) hot seafood stock (optional)
2-3 pats of butter
Thinly slice garlic cloves, add to extra virgin olive oil along with red pepper flakes and slowly heat on a low flame in a large pan with a lid.
While the garlic and red pepper is infusing into the oil, start cooking the pasta. Bring 3-4 quarts/liters of water to boil. When water is at a heavy boil, add sea salt. I recommend adding 1 heaping tbsp of salt for every 2 quarts/liters. Add the pasta and cook until al dente then drain*. Try to set aside a cup or so of pasta water.
When garlic is tender and starting to crisp (be careful NOT to burn it) and the oil has taken on a slightly reddish hue from the red pepper, turn heat to high and add white wine. Bring it to a boil, add the fillet of fish, spoon wine sauce over the meat, reduce heat to a medium flame, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the meat is firm and flaky.
Uncover, add calamari and shrimp or prawns. Stir into the sauce, cover and cook for 2-3 min. This shouldn't take too long so be vigilant and try avoid overcooking. The meat of the shrimp or prawn should turn white with pink tails and slightly curled. For calamari, you want the flesh to be slightly firm with an opaque color. If overcooked, it can become rubbery so don't cook it too long.
When all seafood has been cooked, uncover and turn off heat. Add cooked pasta along with seafood stock (optional) or 1/4 cup (60ml) of the leftover pasta water. Drizzle with 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, add 2-3 pats of butter and toss to combine.
Normally I don't recommend draining the pasta since it is actually better to just use pasta tongs to transfer the pasta straight from the water to the sauce. However, if you are adding the optional seafood stock instead of pasta water, drain the linguine to avoid over salting the dish.