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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Recipes–Seafood Rigatoni a la Crème

I hate casseroles. They always remind me of refrigerator leftovers chucked in an oven dish, slathered with sauce and baked until gooey.  To make life easier, however, and knowing that one of my dinner guests was an older woman who had grown up on casseroles, I decided to try one.  Since I was cooking, I could control the ingredients and make the dish as un-casserole-like as possible.  The result was far better than I ever expected, and I recommend it.

I prepared the dish with squid, tuna, and shrimp. For best taste, be sure to cook with the tuna and squid, but the shrimp are optional and can be left out or replaced with some other white fish or clams.

The advantage of the casserole is that you can serve the dish hot just like a regular pasta dish; or you can refrigerate and serve at a later date.

Seafood Rigatoni a la Crème

* 1 lb. rigatoni

* 1/2 lg. onion, chopped

* 4 lg. garlic cloves, chopped

* 1 can Vigo squid in oil (available at supermarkets). Use the solid and liquid.

* 1 jar tuna in olive oil and garlic (this is available at Whole Foods; but you can also DIY – put a can of drained tuna-in-water in a jar with two sliced cloves of garlic and enough olive oil to cover; and let sit for a day)

* 1 can tuna-in-water, drained

* 1/2 cup dried porcini (or other highly-flavored) mushrooms, cut into med. pieces

* 1 cup steamed shrimp, cut into 2” pieces

* 1 Tbsp. dried oregano

* 3 Tbsp. olive oil

* 1 1/2 cup half-and-half

* 1/2 cup grated parmesan

* 1/2 cup Amontillado sherry

* 10 grindings fresh peppercorns

- Rehydrate the mushrooms, drain, reserve

- Sautee the garlic, onions, mushrooms and oregano in olive oil in a large fireproof oven dish/casserole (e.g. Pyrex) until onions and mushrooms are soft.  Add the tuna-in-water (drained) and the squid and its liquids, and sauté for another ten minutes over low heat

- Turn the heat to high, add the sherry and cook for about 5 minutes until the alcohol has been evaporated

- Add the cream, stirring well as you add it.  If the amount given here is not enough, add more so that the sauce is creamy but not watery.  Taste for salt.

- Boil the pasta until done al dente.  This means that the rigatoni should be quite firm.

- Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce in the casserole

- Add the jar of tuna-garlic in olive oil, grated cheese, shrimp, and ground pepper and mix well again

- Adjust for taste and serve

- This dish can be refrigerated for serving later, and will keep well for a few days. Just reheat for one hour at 200F.  If dry, add 1/2 cup cream

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