Perfect Pesto Pasta
It is always a sure-fire winner using mung bean fettuccine.
"A wonderful dish we serve at my Melbourne restaurant Rosetta; the lemon oil goes so well with the seafood. Please use any seafood you like – the dressing will be perfect with absolutely everything. Mussels are a great substitute for the clams or you could use a mixture of both. Just remember to clean the mussels and pull out the hairy beards." ~ Neil Perry.
600 g (1 lb 5 oz) clams (vongole)
330 g (111/2 oz) whole octopus with tentacles, gutted and cleaned, thawed if frozen
2 small squid with tentacles, about 330 g (111/2 oz), cleaned
450 g (1 lb) raw prawns (shrimp), shells on
80 ml (21/2 fl oz/1/3 cup) white wine
30 ml (1 fl oz) lemon oil, or to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 celery stalks, leaves reserved, finely chopped
1 Tbs finely chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Soak the clams in cold water for 15 minutes, then drain and rinse well.
If you are using fresh octopus, beat it with a meat hammer to tenderise it (you don’t need to do this if you are using frozen octopus, as freezing has a tenderising effect). Rinse well under cold running water, wiping with a clean sponge to remove any excess saltiness. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil (do not add salt as this will toughen the octopus). Add the octopus, cover and reduce the heat to low. Gently simmer for 20–30 minutes or until tender. Drain well and cut the octopus into bite-sized pieces.
Meanwhile, bring another saucepan of water to the boil. Add the squid and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon. Allow to cool, then separate the tentacles from the squid and slice the squid bodies into strips.
Add the prawns to the pan of squid water and simmer for 2 minutes or until they have changed colour and are just cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon. Allow to cool, then peel and devein.
Place the clams and white wine in a large saucepan over high heat. Cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the clams have opened. Remove from the heat and strain, reserving the cooking liquid and discarding any clams that haven’t opened.
Whisk 50 ml (11/2 fl oz) of the strained clam cooking liquid with the lemon oil, sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Put the octopus, squid, prawns, clams, chopped celery and celery leaves in a shallow serving dish. Drizzle the dressing over the seafood. Scatter with the parsley and garlic and serve immediately.
Note: If the clams are packaged and pre-washed there is no need to soak them – just remove them from the packet and rinse.
Credits: Images and recipes from Neil Perry’s Good Cooking by Neil Perry (Murdoch books) RRP $49.99.
Photo Credits: Images and recipes from Neil Perry’s Good Cooking by Neil Perry (Murdoch books) RRP $49.99.