Tonight’s dinner took us to the coastal regions of Italy with pasta di mare, or pasta from the sea. I made it with sea scallops, prawns and mussels. I served it with a caesar salad and focaccia with basil and olives and a nice crisp fume blanc. For a brief time, we felt like we were dining off the coast of Capri, Italy. We had a friend over for dinner and he could not stop raving about how delicious the dinner was. This is a meal meant to be shared with friends and loved ones.
Pasta di Mare
1 lb sea scallops
1 lb large prawns
1 lb mussels
1 large shallot, minced fine
2 TBSP garlic
5 whole tomatoes, large dice
7 or so mushrooms, sliced
1-1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 TBSP butter
fresh basil, oregano, thyme, parsley to taste
salt & pepper to taste
Parmigiano cheese (optional)
Sautee the scallops and prawns in butter and oil in a hot skillet, for about 5-6 minutes or until the prawns turned a bright red and scallops were lightly browned on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the garlic, mushrooms and shallots and slightly brown, then add wine and tomatoes, salt & pepper and cook down for about 2 minutes. Add the mussels and cook for about 5 minutes or until they have opened up. Remove and set aside. Add all the herbs and bring to a boil, the turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Dish up the cooked pasta, add some of the sauce, then place the seafood around the pasta and sauce. Add more sauce as needed. Top with chopped basil and parsely, and if you like Parmigiano cheese, add that as well.
Focaccia with Basil and Olives
I used olives I had marinated with fennel, orange juice and orange rind and red pepper flakes, but any olives will do.
4 cups flour + extra for dusting
1 TBSP salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 oz yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup olives
fresh basil, chiffonade or shredded very thin
salt water made from 1 1/2 tsp salt and warm water
Mix the first 5 ingredients together and form the dough into a ball. Then roll it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 6 minutes. Coat the dough with a little bit of olive oil, cover and let rise for about 2 hours at room temperature. Add the olives and some of the basil and mix well into the dough. Again, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a rectangular shape and place on a piece of parchment paper on your baking pan. Brush with the salt water mixture, and dimple the dough with your fingers. Add the rest of the olives. Cover and let rise again for about 1 hour.
Set your oven to 450* and let it get to temperatures before placing your dough in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. I used a dipping sauce made of olive oil, garlic, black pepper, dried onions, red pepper flakes and balsamic vinegar. Delicioso!!