The best meals (to me, at least) are the ones that are simple – with a few ingredients that are fresh and packed with flavour and then prepared with love. For the second installment of the Succulent Ape & Cosmic Chef’s Cookups, we prepared a divinely delicious meal of Pasta with Shrimp and Calamari in Red Sauce and a nice, easy-to-assemble salad. Perfect for a weeknight meal for two, with enough leftovers to have for lunch the next day. SA had gone shopping and bought a tonne of seafood, so we had shrimp and calamari in the house – this really is a “cook what you like” recipe, you can substitute the shrimp and calamari for any other seafood if you prefer, adding some clams would be nice or even anchovy fillets – whatever floats your boat basically. We used bow tie pasta, but you can use any kind you like once again – shell maybe, if you’re not feeling the bow ties or even rotini – go wild!
You can use store bought sauce if you don’t have time or are feeling a bit lazy, but I recommend making your own because you can adjust it to your taste and you know exactly what is going in it, rather some unpronounceable chemicals or a tonne of sugar. Making the sauce is relatively simple, but you need a bit of time on your hands as there are a few steps in the process. Also it’s good to have it simmer on the stove on low heat, so all the flavours can settle.
Tomatoes you find in the desh aren’t very juicy, so you’d need a good amount, I’d say about 2 kgs or 12 tomatoes. To make the tomato puree (make it, I say! Don’t use the store bought one unless you absolutely have to) – first boil the tomatoes so they are nice and soft. Then blend them till you get a paste-like consistency. For the sauce, just put it on the stove with some minced garlic and onions, paprika and bay leaves. Let it simmer for a good hour – you can also add a tad bit or oregano and some salt and pepper and let the smells drive you crazy in the meantime.
Add some minced parsley and some chicken broth to beef it up, about a cup or more depending on how liquidy you want the sauce. If you want a thicker consistency, keep the lid off because the seafood will add in some juice too. While the sauce simmers, boil your pasta according to package directions and drain well.
Now – for the stars of the show – the seafood (drumroll!) – add in your seafood of choice and turn heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes or until it’s done. Garnish with some more minced parsley and serve with pasta. Voila!
2 kgs of tomatoes
1 minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 bay leaves
Pinch of paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp minced parsley
500 g shrimp
500 g squid