Funzing host, Vittoria’s, passion for food and cooking started about 25 years ago, when she was still a kid and used to watch her grandma preparing food for her family in Italy. Not only would she watch but on some lucky days she also got involved as nonna’s chef assistant. She’d play with the flour and dough and whilst her nonna wasn’t too pleased about having such a messy assistant, Vittoria loved every minute.
She’s given us the thumbs up to share with you one of her grandma’s delicious and authentic pasta recipes but shhhh, you have to promise to keep it a secret! More than a recipe this is a real masterpiece. Scialatielli alla Masianello, the emblem of the Italian tradition, made with pasta, seafood and courgette. Just the taste of it will transport you to sunny Naples. It is not a plate that originally comes from the region where Vittoria grew up (rather, it’s from Campania) but it is also very popular there.
The scialatielli is a kind of spaghetti but thicker than normal. Vittoria uses an instrument that resembles a guitar to make it (weird we know – but she claims you can buy it on amazon). Either way, there are various techniques of making this speciality pasta, which looks more or less like tagliatelle but thicker and narrower. Vittoria recommends sourcing your fish from a high quality fishmonger (she goes to La Petite Poissonnerie in Primrose Hill). The recipe suggest using an octopus but Vittoria assures us that squid works just as well).
A Bit of History
Masaniello, who the dish is named after, was a fisherman leading the insurrection to free the region of Campania from the Spanish dominion. He is one of the most loved figure in the Neapolitan tradition and this is why there are a number of streets, fountains, places, restaurants and even a pasta dedicated to him.
Scialatielli alla Masaniello – Handmade thick spaghetti with seafood & fried courgettes
YIELD: 4 servings
PREP: 2 mins COOK: 30 mins READY IN: 32 mins
- 150 g white flour
- 150 g semolina fine flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 spoon olive oil
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 big prawns
- 300 g clams
- 300 g mussels
- 150 g small octopus
- 5 small tomatoes
- 2 small courgettes
- chopped parsley
- 2 cloves garlic
- half glass white wine
- chillies, salt and pepper
Vittoria’s Personal Touch
Instead of chilies, she fries the garlic with thai green curry paste and some siracha sauce. She also recommends frying the zucchini with turmeric powder to give them an added exotic touch.
- Mix the flour with salt and form a fountain. In the middle of the fountain, put the eggs and olive oil and start mixing the eggs with a fork. Once they are mixed thoroughly, start adding in the flour. When all the flour is mixed in start kneading the dough with your hands. Knead on a flour-dusted surface for at least 10/15 minutes for a perfect result. Make a nice and smooth ball. Wrap in cling film and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- While the pasta rests, prepare the other ingredients. Soak the mussels and clams in salted water and leave them for half an hour. Clean them by removing the beards and then rub them with a stiff brush in order to eliminate any barnacles. Rinse with fresh water. Peel the prawns leaving the head and tail intact. Cut the zucchini in small circular slices.
- Divide your dough in smaller balls and flatten with your hands or the rolling pin so it can fit the thickest setting of your pasta machine. Use the thickest setting three times and each time fold the dough like a wallet. Use the second setting once, dust with flour and then put the pasta layer on your guitar if you have one, and pass your rolling pin over the layer so that the pasta falls down.
- Alternatively if you don’t have a guitar, dust the layer with flour and roll it on itself then cut stripes. Put aside on a dusted surface.
- Pour water into a deep large pan, add salt and boil the water. Fry the zucchini in hot abundant olive oil until soft. Put the mussels and clams in a large pan, cover with the lid and cook until they open. Fry the garlic and chillies in a separate large pan for 5 minutes over low fire. Add the small octopus, tomatoes and after 5 minutes the prawns. Add the mussels and clams and the white wine. Let it evaporate over high fire and cook for other five minutes. Season with salt. Add the zucchini and turn the fire down.
- Boil the scialatielli in the salted water until al dente. Take a bit of cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and add to the fish. Add the cooking water to the mixture and sauté for a couple of minutes. Season with pepper and chopped parsley.