Saturday, February 16, 2013

Langostinos with Fettucini

Last week when I took a snapshot of this dish it caused a bit of stir on Facebook, so today I'm writing up the recipe so you can enjoy it at home too.

To start with let's clarify what we are talking about regarding the shellfish.  "Langostino" is a Spanish word with different meanings in different areas. In the United States, it is commonly used in the restaurant trade to refer to the meat of the squat lobster, which is neither a true lobster nor a prawn. It is more closely related to porcelain crabs and hermit crabs. Crustaceans labeled as langostino are no more than 3 inches long, and weigh no more than 7 ounces.  Langostinos are not langoustes (spiny lobsters) despite a similar name (in Spanish, lobster is called langosta). Also, langostinos are sometimes confused with langoustines (Norway lobster), which is a true lobster common in European cuisine.  I got my langostinos in a bag pre-cooked and flash frozen at the local Costco.  So they just needed warming in the garlic butter sauce before tossing with the pasta.

I was making this dish at our home in St. Thomas and whenever I'm there I find myself using up whatever I have on hand.  This was the reason for the black olives, which I might not have otherwise included.

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1-2 pounds of langostinos, precooked and thawed.
4 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup black olives, halved or sliced depending on size
2 tablespoons parsley flakes or fresh chopped parsley
1/3 cup tomato sauce, pasta sauce or other similar red sauce, slightly warmed
1 1/2 pounds linguine, or other wide flat noodle pasta
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
salt, pepper to taste

Set a large pot of water to boil, adding a tablespoon of olive oil and a two tablespoons of salt to the water.  When the water comes to a boil, all the pasta.  As the pasta cooks (12-14 minutes), in a large skillet prepare the langostino sauce.

Peel and finely mince the garlic.  Place the remaining olive oil (2 tablespoons) into the skillet over medium heat.  When warm, add the garlic and gently saute to bring out the flavor and aroma.  While the garlic cooks, slice or halve the olives, depending on their size.   Add the langostinos and gently turn in the garlic oil.  Salt and pepper them to your taste, just heating them through, 3-4 minutes.  Add the olives and continue to gently turn to heat through.

By now the pasta should be cooked and al dente.  Drain and return to the empty pot.  Add the butter, parsley and red pepper flakes and turn to ensure it does not stick together.  Stir in the warmed pasta sauce then toss with the langostinos and pan sauce.  Plate and sprinkle with more fresh parsley and serve.

This is a lovely dish to serve whenever you are seaside but of course is welcome anytime.  It's quick and easy to prepare and will become a favorite of your family and friends.  You can substitute the meat of most any precooked shellfish and still get great results!  Manga!

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