After picking up a bunch of goodies at Pike Place Market we had all the ingredients for a great seafood pasta, but we didn't have a sauce recipe in mind. So I did a little searching and found this recipe for seafood pasta on Waitrose (yep, Food Illustrated has a website!). We used this recipe as a jumping-off point.
I had saffron on hand, and we figured we could tweak or leave out the other things we didn't have (like courgettes, aka zucchini). I imagined the black "calamari" linguini from Pappardelle's would be beautiful against the pink prawns and yellow saffron sauce. And it was. Absolutely beautiful.
This was one of the tastiest seafood pasta dishes I've ever had. Perfect for having guests over because it's fairly quick and, again, so pretty on the plate.
Any combo of seafood would work here; as you'll see, the recipe is very basic, so grilled or seared salmon, mussels, or whatever combo of seafood you want to use would be fine. Think in terms of color, though--salmon would be pretty against the saffron yellow sauce, as would the dark color of mussels.
Seafood in Saffron Sauce with Calamari Linguini
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 tsp saffron threads
3 T butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2/3 c half-n-half
1 lb prawns, peeled and deveined, reserving all shells
1/2 lb calamari, cut into thick rings or strips
2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1lb calamari linguini or squid-ink pasta (you can usually find these darkly colored pastas at specialty stores or in Asian supermarkets)
Place the broth, wine, saffron and prawn shells into a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Drop pasta into boiling water to cook.
While pasta is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons butter to a large saute pan over medium heat, then add the shallot and garlic. Cook (but do not brown) and soften shallot-garlic mixture for about five minutes, then add the prawns. Cook just until prawns are starting to turn completely pink. Remove prawns to a plate (they should be slightly underdone).
Once the pasta is done cooking, drain pasta and leave in colander. Working quickly, cook the calamari for 1 minute, then pour the saffron sauce through a fine strainer (to remove shells) into the saute pan.
Immediately add the pasta and cook for medium heat for 1 or 2 minutes. Add the prawns and parsley into the pan and immediately pour the entire pasta/seafood/sauce mixture into a serving bowl.
Serve hot with crusty bread and a nice Chardonnay.