Traditional spaghetti alla marinara … in which Paolo reveals his mother’s secret ingredient

I learn something in the kitchen every time we visit these guys.

They are great cooks. Not flash chefs, just seriously good cooks, using the best of what’s on hand which in Liguria tends towards vegetables, seafood and salads.

In nine days at Sottovalle, we did 2700kms worth of day trips into the mountains and all along the coastline. Long, happy days filled with good food, big walks and plenty of laughter. But today was a rest day.

The boys had been sent down to Aquarta Scrivia earlier in the morning to get some seafood – any excuse to visit ‘The Office’ – read plane tree covered cafe spilling with pastries.

The recipe is below but I’m going to point out a few tips I learnt along the way …

It all starts with parsley and one and a half small cloves of garlic. Don’t overdo the garlic. Chop together finely and divide into two. One half is held back and added right at the end.

parsley-garlic-mezzaluna

Now the secret ingredient…

2 anchovy fillets (under salt!) washed and rinsed three times under water.

(A later P.S. to this … I can’t find anchovies under salt so I’ve used the little ones in oil. I’ve made it twice and the second time I used about 8 little anchovies and it benefited from the extras)

anchovies

chilli jar

Normally I would heat my pan and then add my first ingredients. But no!

Put them into a cold pan and VERY, VERY gently bring up the temperature and fry them off.

gently frying

If the garlic burns you MUST start again.

frying off parsley garlic anchovies chilli

Mussels, clams and prawns measured by the handful.

clams mussels prawns

Clams soaked in salt water to get rid of any muck.

Mussels steamed in a separate pan. Remove from their shells and don’t keep the juice. These guys regard it as dirty.

clams soaking

squid

The squid is very gently fried and then the temperature turned off till we are ready with everything else.

frying off the squid

Get yourself a couple of handy prawn peelers.

steve and paolo peeling prawns

prawns

Back on the heat and the mussels and clams are added.

mussels added

clams added

Throw in the prawns, a few chopped tomatoes, a little glass of white wine and cover till the clam shells open.

tomatoes and parsley and garlic

table and garden

Meanwhile bring your pasta water to the boil and you know when they say “Add salt.”  Add salt!

salt

When the pasta is cooked and stirred in with the seafood, that’s the moment to add your remaining garlic and parsley. It adds a note of freshness right at the end.

spaghetti

pasta

Find yourself a pretty setting and some good company.

garden

And allora! Spaghetti alla marinara Forest View B&B style courtesy of Louise & Paolo and Paolo’s mama.

louise and paolo

spaghetti-alla-marinara

Thanks for sharing lovelies.

Enjoy  xx

 

Spaghetti alla Marinara

1 and 1/2 cloves of garlic
A small handful of fresh parsley
2 anchovies (under salt!) washed and rinsed three times in fresh water
(If you can’t get them under salt I used 8 small ones in oil)
1 chopped, dried red chilli
Extra virgin olive oil

A handful of prawns (when peeled)
A handful of squid
2 handfuls of clams
2 handfuls of mussels

1 little glass of white wine, say …  half an Australian glass of white wine.

A handful of chopped fresh tomato.

 

 

Method

1. Cover the base of a fry pan in extra virgin olive oil. No heat yet.

2. Chop the garlic and parsley finely and add half to the pan. Reserve the other half till the end.

3. Wash the anchovies three times under fresh water. Chop and add to pan.

4. Chop 1 dried red chilli and add to the pan.

5. Very gently bring the heat up and fry and stir till the anchovies dissolve into the mix. The mixture MUST NOT burn. If it does you MUST start again. It’s a very gentle process.

6. Add your chopped squid to the pan and fry gently.

7. Add the prawns and mussels. Stir gently.

8. Add the clams, tomatoes and white wine. 

9. Stir and cover till clam shells open.

10.Turn off heat till pasta is al dente.

 

Meanwhile …

11. Bring pasta water to boil. Add plenty of salt. Cook spaghetti till al dente.

12. Drain spaghetti. Pour into the seafood pan.

13. Add the remaining chopped parsley and garlic and toss gently.

13. Pour into a warmed platter and serve.

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    6 Comments

    1. Posted 25 September 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Marg, this is amazing post with very tempting recipe. Just the right thing for the season! I bet it is a family pleaser. Will try it very soon.
      Love your photos! xo

      • Marg
        Posted 27 September 2015 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Sophia. Simplicity. xx

    2. Richard
      Posted 27 September 2015 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      OMG – they have stolen my recipe! This is the only way I know how to cook this delicacy!! Unfortunately, I could never (not yet anyway) provide the beautiful surroundings to prepare such a beautiful indulgence. Thanks for sharing!

      • Marg
        Posted 27 September 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        haha Richard is that so?? It’s all about the legs under the table. Good food. Good company. Anything else is a bonus.

    3. Seana
      Posted 29 September 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Fantastico! I’ve never made it myself but remember well the delicious marinaras eaten when I lived in Genoa. Too far away and long ago!

      • Marg
        Posted 15 October 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        It’s the vongole that pulls my strings 🙂

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