Friday, 14 September 2012

Seafood pasta (Μακαρόνια θαλασσινών)

Fresh seafood is never really the most frugal fish option in Crete, unless you are a fisherman. Frozen seafood is the best choice for something cheap. I recently came across a mixed bag of seafood chunks including mussels and calamari for less than €3, which I used to recreate a pasta dish that I tried at an expensive fish restaurant. The pasta sauce had a pesto base, which is usually made of basil, but if you're out of fresh basil, a good pesto can also be made with other green herbs.

You need:
a small bunch of parsley (I only had a little parsley available, so I also added purslane leaves and finely minced fresh green peppers)
a few cloves of garlic
olive oil - I use quite a lot, and I get a very oily dish; the amount depends on the tastes of the cook and his/her guests!
salt and pepper
a 300g pack of frozen mixed seafood chunks (cheap frozen seafood is usually not Greek)
350g linguine (or spaghettini)

Boil the pasta till al dente. I usually pour a tablespoon of olive oil into the pasta pot to stop it sticking while I'm preparing the sauce. In the meantime, finely chop all the herbs and garlic and place in a small saucepan; add the salt, pepper and olive oil to the greens. Heat the mixture and place the rinsed seafood (don't defrost it). Let the seafood cook for a few minutes on very low heat, till everything has just heated through.

When the pasta is ready, drain it, place it back in the pot and add the seafood sauce.

Serve with a fresh salad and white or rose wine.

Total cost of meal if you have access to your own supplies of olive oil, salad ingredients and herbs: €4-5 -about €1.25 per person (serves 4).

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