The last time I went to Italy was in 2008. We went during summer, so we also went to Sicily to spend some time at the seaside in a small village called San Vito Lo Capo (Wiki). Our eldest daughter was 1 year old then and Clint and I could finally leave her with my parents to get some time as a “couple” again and go out for dinner or a walk etc. It was lovely. One of the restaurants where we had dinner was called Syrah. The food was really good and Clint had some fantastic pasta: busiati with pancetta, clams, shrimp and pistachio pesto. A very interesting and unusual combination of ingredients, but the flavour was perfect. When we came back to Australia I set on a mission to try and replicate it. I have to admit I am not a big fan of shrimp and it is very hard to find clams/vongole near where we live. So, I decided to slightly adapt the original recipe and after various attempts, I came up with this recipe that I think is just right, and Clint loves it more than the original! I substituted pancetta with speck and removed clams and shrimp. You can make it with any pasta, but I usually find these fantastic strozzapreti at the shops and they are quite similar to busiati. If you are up for it, you can surely make busiati by hand, here is my tutorial.
Ingredients for 4 persons:
50 gms Italian speck, thinly sliced
6-7 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp of tomato puree
4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove of garlic
3 tbsp of unsalted pistachios
Salt to taste
Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano thinly grated to serve
400 gms of strozzapreti or busiati
Cut the slices of speck into 3 cm squares and put them in a frying pan with 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Let it fry on a low fire for a couple of minutes. Then add the halved cherry tomatoes, the tomato puree and 3 tbsp of water. Let the sauce cook for 5 minutes on a slow fire. Then put the fire off and keep it aside.
In the meantime prepare the pistachio pesto. Put the pistachios, garlic, 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 1 pinch of salt in a mixer and blend them together until you obtain a paste. Keep it aside.
Cook the strozzapreti or busiati following the steps on How to cook pasta “al dente” in the Techniques page of this site, but drain it 1 minute before it is fully cooked as it will finish cooking together with the sauce. Before draining the pasta, put 2 tbsp of the pasta water in the tomato sauce. Put the drained pasta in the frying pan with the tomato and speck sauce, add the pistachio pesto and 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
Mix well while cooking it on a slow flame for 1 or 2 minutes.
Serve with thinly grated Parmigiano Reggiano on the top.
On another note… I will be “offline” for a few days. We’ll be heading off to New Zealand’s North Island for a few days of R&R… no computer allowed! Just thought I’d mention it, as I won’t be able to come by your blogs and comment on your yummy posts as usual. I’ll catch up with everything once I am back: promise! Hopefully I’ll come back with some nice shots and good stories to share. If you see some new posts of mine while I’m gone, it’s because I have scheduled them to publish automatically… enjoy them and your Easter break! <3