Simply Pasta! – Seafood Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
Pastas are my absolute “to-go-tos” whenever I need a quick lunch. I think that is the same for many of us. I love doing Asian fusion pastas, incorporating elements of the traditional Asian cooking into the traditional Italian dish. But once in a while, I like to go back to the neopolitan classics and whip up simple recipes of cabonara, alfredo, ragu etc. The simplest of them all must surely be the Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. So fast to prepare and accompanied with fresh seafood which takes just seconds to cook, it makes probably the most gratifying meal cooked in less than 15 minutes!
I love Spaghetti Aglio e Olio for their simple flavours. Just a combination of olive oil, garlic, chili and parsley makes the world go round, quite literally since this is not only immensely popular in Naples where they originated but in Italian restaurants as well as pizza & pasta delis all over the world. And because its so simple to prepare, be sure to use the freshest ingredients you can find, apart from the dry spaghetti of course! Oh yeah, I don’t do chili flakes since we get an abundance of fresh red chilies over here all year round. I tend to go for a mixture of 1 regular red chilies and 2 bird’s eye chilies for the heat. Adjust it to your own preference for heat and feel free to take it up a notch higher by going all chili padi! Also, I prefer using chinese coriander aka chinese parsley or cilantro instead of the italian variety. The former offers so much more in terms of flavour and aromatics. Hardcore italian food afficionados are so gonna kill me for saying that…
Seafood Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (serves 1)
1 portion of dried spaghetti or pasta of your choice
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 red chili, deseeded and minced
2 bird’s eye chili, deseeded and minced
2 large prawns, or 4 medium prawns
1 medium squid, cleaned and processed
3-4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 small handful of chinese coriander or italian parsley, chopped
salt to taste
sufficient water for cooking pasta
In a pot, add enough water for cooking pasta, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.
Add pasta and cook as per instructions on the package until al dente
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the seafood.
Remove the heads of the prawns and set aside. Cut the large prawns lengthwise into halves. Omit the halving process if smaller prawns are used but simply make a slit on the back and remove the intestinal tract.
Peel off the outer membrane of the cleaned squid and score the surface before cutting into chunks. Otherwise, cut into thick rings.
Score the surface of the scallop slightly and place all the processed seafood in a bowl. Season with sufficient salt and pepper.
Add olive oil into a frying pan and saute the prawn heads until aromatic and they turn orange. Use the spatula and carefully depress the heads to squeeze out the contents.
Use the prawn oil and saute minced garlic and chilies until fragrant. Add the seafood and pan fry until they are just slightly undercooked.
Push the seafood to one side of the pan and added the cooked pasta, a portion of chopped chinese coriander, salt and pepper to taste into the pan and toss. Add more extra virgin olive oil if necessary.
Plate up everything except for the prawn heads and garnish with more chopped parsley and freshly chopped red chilies.
Give everything a good toss and enjoy!