eat vicariously: seafood linguine in fennel & white wine sauce
A house is not a home until you’ve properly mucked about in the kitchen and fed a bunch of friends. I finally made my shared house in Stanmore home with this delicious pasta as the main event, accompanied by a mishmash of sides and pink champagne courtesy of my friend “The Wild Banana.” The pasta was delicious – the sweetness of the fennel, the dry white wine reduction, a bit of a hot chilli kick and fresh parsley complemented the seafood beautifully. It tasted downright indulgent but was super simple.
This dish was inspired by a fish thingy that my mom and I have made, which over the last few summers has become a Lake Simcoe standard. I think she originally modified it from a recipe by legendary Toronto chef Greg Couillard. The original uses cod or any mild white fish, but since I am on a huge seafood kick in Sydney, I decided to make it with shrimp…sorry, prawns…and calamari.
I invited a few friends over for dinner, planning to throw some shrimp on the barbie and eat in the backyard. After walking around in the rain all afternoon with a backpack full of groceries, I decided something warm and rich would be more suitable. All my ingredients were fresh from Paddy’s Market, including about 1/2 a pound of fresh shrimp and a couple of large cleaned calamari, which I marinated with olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, s&p and parsley.
Then I took a two-hour nap, since I had been up at 3:30 to work a shift at a call centre, verifying data for businesses in places like Brandon, Manitoba and Castlegar, BC (long story). When I woke up, I made the sauce, then cooked the seafood on its own for a bit while the pasta boiled & threw it all together for a couple minutes at the end.
Here’s the Recipe – it served 5 of us, and I had leftovers for lunch (and maybe also breakfast) the next day:
- about 2/3 package of linguine
- 1/2 pound raw shelled shrimp
- 2 medium size cleaned calamari sliced in rings
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 1/2(ish) cups dry white wine
- 2 shallots, diced
- 2 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 2-3 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 bunch italian parsley, chopped
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 chilli pepper diced (or chilli flakes) – more if you like it really spicy
- salt & pepper to taste
1. Marinate the seafood in garlic, half of the lemon zest, olive oil and s&p for a few hours
2. Heat olive oil in a saucepan and sautee garlic and shallots for a couple of minutes, then add fennel, tomatoes, remaining lemon zest and chilli pepper. Gradually add the white wine and reduce on medium heat. Drink some while you cook. Add half the parsley, saving the other half for garnish. Once fennel is soft, transfer the mixture to a bowl
3. Boil water for pasta and start cooking the noodles
4. While water is boiling, dump the seafood with its marinade into the saucepan and braise with white wine for a few minutes, then transfer the fennel mixture back to the saucepan and stir it all together for 2 minutes
5. Drain the noodles and mix them with the sauce, toss with fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice and serve.
6. Drink more wine, have a good laugh with friends, and eat rainbow flavoured Paddle Pops for dessert. Possibly win trip to Disney Land.