The Artisan of Flavour

Cooking Italian is a craftsman’s labour, the work of an Artisan of Flavour.

Spaghetti allo scoglio in crema d’asparagi e pachini (Seafood spaghetti with asparagus cream and cherry tomatoes)

Scoglio asparagi e pachini

The wheel of seasons turns and the Artisan of Flavour celebrates the blooming of Spring with a variation of a very popular Italian traditional dish, perhaps the most famous seafood based pasta: Spaghetti allo Scoglio.

In this instance I gave it a bit of a new outfit (and taste!) by adding cherry tomatoes and asparagus cream. It will result a bit heavier than in its original version (which will certainly be covered in the future) but its new creamy character will most likely get closer to the style and preferences of many of you who haven’t been raised or lived in a Mediterranean country for a number of years.

Difficulty: Medium

Cost: Moderate

Ready in: 1h

Ingredients for 4 people

. Spaghetti (400g)
. Seafood: normally king prawns, mussels, scallops and squid rings (500g fresh, 800g frozen)
. Asparagus (300g)
. Cherry tomatoes (a handful)
. Fresh double cream (125ml)
. Extra virgin olive oil
. Nutmeg
. Salt
. Pepper
. Crushed chillies
. Butter


Wash the asparagus and boil them for 7-8 minutes making sure you live the tips out of the water. Drain the asparagus, cut the tips and leave them apart for now. Put the stalks in a food processor and blend them into a nice green paste. Transfer into a saucepan where you will add 125ml of cream, salt, pepper and a hint of nutmeg. Leave boiling to a very low heat until the right consistency is reached. This should take around 8-12 minutes.

If you haven’t got a food processor or a blender appeal to your patience and cut the boiled asparagus in small tiny pieces before crushing them in a bowl.

Bring one big pan to medium/high temperature, pour two spoons of extra virgin olive oil and add salt and black pepper. When the oil is hot add the seafood. Seafood will lose water in the cooking process, the quantity (and therefore the time required) will depend on whether you are using frozen or fresh products. This water will form a liquid with the oil you put in the pan before: it is important this liquid is removed and add new oil added from time. While the seafood cooks, wash a handful of cherry tomatoes and cut in halves. Also stir fry the asparagus tip in a different pan using some butter.

Once the seafood is almost ready (you will notice the king prawns changing colour and the squid rings getting a darker shade, other than the smell getting more intense) reduce the heat to a minimum, just to keep it hot. Add the cherry tomato halves, the asparagus tips, the asparagus cream and cover with a lid. Stir from time to time.

Cook the spaghetti (following the tips in this article) drain them and add them to the pan where your seafood sauce is being kept nice and hot. Mix spaghetti and seafood sauce together, add a pinch of crushed chillies and stir frying on a medium heat for 1 minute before serving.


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