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Oct 20, 2011 10:32 AM

Help me sauce this pasta

I was at Eataly in NYC yesterday and bought (among other things) a package of imported calamari-shaped pasta. It almost screams for some sort of seafood sauce, but I'm just not good at creating sauces on my own. Oh, I can cook up a great sauce, but in this case I feel I could use some specific instructions. Can anyone help me with a recipe to complement this pasta? Thanks!

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  1. I've had this pasta with calamari - it's really fun, because you can't tell the difference between the noodles and the fish, sometimes. You might try this Mario Batali recipe (which calls for couscous instead of pasta, but pasta would work just as well):

    1. This pasta shape is technically called Paternoster.... AKA Tubettini and Ditalini. It's mostly used in soups and salads, but you could simply make a light meat sauce.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        No, if these are the same as the ones I saw at Eataly a few weeks ago, they're MUCH bigger than ditalini (which are small and suitable for soup). These are quite large, about the same diameter as a typical calamari tube.

        1. re: biondanonima

          OIC... the photo doesn't do them justice. Thanks...

          They could be Tufoli then according to this chart...

          1. re: Gio

            biodanonima is right -- they're just about the diameter of calamari rings and somewhat shorter than the tufoli on the chart (GREAT chart, BTW), but I can see how that photo can be misleading. I'm thinking I'd like to make this a shellfish dish -- maybe with shrimp, lobster and clams.

            By the way, the pasta selection at Eataly is AWESOME!!! What a great place to shop for gift basket contents for foodie friends.

      2. That is Calamarata pasta ... search for recipes under that.

        I really like this cut of pasta because it has a LOT of bite to it. I usually just add some hummus to it with good evoo and a light douse of pasta water. Makes for a very interesting and different pasta dish. Let's not forget some fresh cracked pepper and a sprinkling of Reggiano on top. :-)

        1. This is a pasta shape of recent invention and, yes, it is usually served with seafood. I would sauté a handful of shrimp and maybe calamari rings and scallops, mussels, or clams (anything handy) in generous extra virgin olive oil with a very moderate amount of garlic (a crushed clove, to be removed when golden, say) and a little piece of hot red pepper (again, to be removed when colored). If you use different kinds of seafood, watch the timing. You might do better to cook them separately. Remove one as done, keep warm, and add the next to the same pan. When the seafood is cooked through, remove, keep warm and toss some halved tiny tomatoes into the pan -- not too many! -- and sauté until they come away from their skins (leave the skins unless you're really really finicky). At some point sprinkle the tomatoes sparingly with salt. Add the cooked seafood, and a quick squeeze of a lemon, and just let the flavors blend over very low heat for a couple of minutes. I sometimes make a little broth of the shrimp shells and use it to extend the sauce or else I add it to the pasta water. In any case, once the shrimp are shelled, you should put the water on and do all the rest in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta. Toss the pasta with the sauce, add a swirl of oil, and serve. The scrupulous would also sprinkle with chopped parsley. You can do pretty much the same thing without tomatoes.

          8 Replies
          1. re: mbfant

            I do something similar with just shrimp but Greek style- I use a generous portion of olive oil (good stuff) salt, black pepper, red peeper flakes (opt) thinly sliced sweet onion (peruvian or vidalia or even red onion) chopped ripe tomato and oregano (dried or fresh is even better) Top with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. I bake mine in a hot oven 450-475 a few minutes- take out and flip shrimp over then sprinkle with feta cheese. Pop back in over for a few minutes until shrimp are done (don't over cook the shrimp!) Add a little pasta water and. I usually serve it over linguine or spaghetti but it would work well with this pasta too. Very simple and fast.

            1. re: TropiChef

              I just had this (so named because it resembles slices of calamari bodies) in a dish with creamed ceci beans and calamari, in a restaurant in Pisciotta, south of Salerno. Combination of beans with seafood is inspired. You could do a version with pureed, canned chick peas if you wish.

              1. re: erica

                What an interesting combination. I'm definitely going to try that soon.

              2. re: TropiChef

                Shrimp with feta -- now there's a combination I never would have considered. It sounds delicious.

                1. re: CindyJ

                  Actually, I can't take credit for the combination. It's based on a recipe from a Greek cuisine cookbook I have. I think it is a popular dish served in restaurants in the Greek Islands. The recipe calls for parsley but I like it with oregano. It is delicious though and very quick to make on those nights you don't have a lot of time. I forgot to add lots of crushed garlic is used- how could I forget that?? Will have to edit my post!

                  1. re: TropiChef

                    It's recipes like yours that really make me wonder why so many Italians are so adamant about never combining cheese with seafood.

                2. re: TropiChef

                  Forgot one very important ingredient! Minced fresh garlic- it is very important to the dish- it is a garlic-ly dish. Sorry for the omission! I don't know how to edit the post- is that possible?

                3. re: mbfant

                  This sounds delicious! Your suggestion to cook the seafood separately makes sense to me; clams and mussels are easy to tell when they're done, but I've ruined calamari in other recipes because I overcooked it.

                  Would you add any wine to the sauce along the way? Also, I'm not sure if I can get really good fresh tomatoes. If I can't, I assume that some imported canned San Marzano tomatoes can be used instead.