Monday, January 3, 2011

Tide Pool Pasta

I found this fun little bag of ocean friends at Traders.  It reminded me of Cioppino, and for years in my family Cioppino was for New Years Eve.  Our main man Terry who lived all the way on the other side of town (less than 4 miles) would host half the town (small town, you know everyone) and feed every belly full of the best Cioppino any of us had ever had.  Note to self: Get Recipe From Terry!!!

Anyway, back to my modest dish… I did my usual… look on-line, flip through books, and then end up just throwing ingredients that I remember from the research all together, tasting as I go.  I was in the mood for a little seafood pasta.  This little bag had shrimp, calamari rings and mini scallops.

Tide Pool Pasta

Seafood Blend from Trader Joe's
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 chopped tomato
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs butter
2 tbs tomato paste
½ cup dry white wine
10 spores saffron
¼ cup, plus some for garnish chopped fresh basil
¼- ½ cup water
Salt and White Pepper
Half box whole wheat pasta

Get your pasta water boiling.  Chris taught me when we were first married to get HOT water from the sink.  Saves on the wait time for boiling.  Why did Miss Time Efficient  never learn this in college?  Cause she wasn’t married to Mr. Strategist yet… 

First sweat the onions in the olive oil with some salt for about 5 min.

Then add the garlic and the chopped tomatoes for another couple of minutes.

My latest cheap fav.

Next, pour in white wine.  Add the Saffron.  If you don’t have it, no big deal, but I’m telling you- it brings that “huh, what IS THAT?!” factor to the dish (in a good way).

After a few minutes of the “pre-party,” the colors and aromas really starting to develop.  It will beg for a little more liquid.  Add your water, butter and tomato paste.

Let it reduce to a sauce like consistency.

The pasta water is yelling at you now.  Please Please Please salt your water.  And I’m not just saying a dash.  We’re serving oceanic creatures here!  Make it taste like the sea!  Your pasta will be much happier that way.  It GIVES me high blood pressure to know you’re not salting your pasta water?!  OK, I’ll calm down… hopefully my clients are skimming this part.

Then add your medley.  Looking back, if you have time to separate the calamari rings out, they could have used a minute less than the shrimp and scallops, but most of us aren't that picky, but in case you were born on the coast in a small town and you have a high standard for calamari… there's my two cents.  The seafood will add a little broth of its own, so make sure everything’s reduced down before adding the blend.

Add chopped basil to the mix once your shrimp are just getting pink.

Then add your pasta right into the sauce pot.  Just like the Italians do it, add pasta to the sauce, not sauce to the pasta.  The noodles cling to the sauce this way.

Then for one more shock factor… I’ll break another “cardinal rule.”  Parm on top.  It’s lovely.  I know, it’s not traditional with seafood, but I could brush my teeth with Parmesan and would be a happy camper… OK once again, too far.  My rule is if there's Chardonnay and butter involved, cheese is more than fine. 

This dish started Chris and I out right on 1-1-11.  For the second time in our marriage we sat down to "reverse engineer our life."  It's a way of planning ahead, but declaring specifically where you want to be and who you want to be in X amount of years and then work backward.  It's about working on your life and not just in it.  It's an excellent exercise and Chris put a link to the original podcast and questions on his website in case you want to read about something OTHER THAN FOOD for a change. :-)

After a pleasant Chardonnay, this pasta treat and 2 hours of productive conversation I think we're gonna do 2011 just fine... by God's grace of course.


  1. Does Traders have frozen scallops, I wonder? Kenny and I have gotten into them and I need an excuse to buy a copper-lined stainless steel frying pan at Homegoods...

  2. This dish was indeed divine, my love. As is all the time with you I have to myself in Portland :-) I think that, with a little more practice, we won't need the recipe from Terry... he'll need it from us!