Region: Italy, Apulia
Category: Pasta with Shellfish
This is a very flavorful dish if you use a wide variety of fish. I usually buy what is called “chowder fish” or “soup fish.” These are scraps and odd pieces that the fishmonger has when he's cutting up fillets and steaks. They usually toss them all together and they make for a fine selection. The use of arugula in the pasta is typical of the southern region of Italy known as the heel of the Italian boot, that is, Apulia. But there they wouldn't use as much garlic or any black pepper.
[photo: Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 pound arugula, coarsely chopped or ripped into smaller pieces if large
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 dried red chile, crumbled or 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
3/4 pound penne
20 littleneck clams, washed well
1 1/4 pounds mixed fish (choose five of the freshest, including two dark-fleshed fish such as salmon, mahimahi, yellowtail, mackerel), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. In a large flameproof casserole, heat the olive oil with the garlic, arugula, parsley, and chile over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the arugula begins to wilts, 2 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, for every pound of pasta, bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat, salt abundantly with up to 1/2 cup of salt, then add the pasta in handfuls. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally so the pasta doesn't stick together, until al dente. Drain without rinsing.
3. Turn the heat up to medium-high under the casserole and add the clams, cover, and cook until one or two of them start opening up in 4 to 5 minutes. Add the fish, cover, and cook on high heat until the fish is cooked through and all the clams have opened, 5 minutes, adjusting the heat lower if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked pasta and toss well. Serve immediately.