Tuscan summer in a bowl Pasta agli Scampi recipe

I spend so much of my summer eating my way around the Maremma. Who am I kidding? I spend all of my year eating my way around the Maremma. But the recipe I am sharing with you today is my absolute favourite! No ifs, no buts. I could eat this dish everyday of the year for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. It goes by the very simple, very to-the-point name Pasta agli Scampi... just saying it makes my mouth water! Scampi are Italian langoustine, We don’t have anything like them in Australia, but if I had to substitute, I’d use Moreton Bay bugs. I’d never heard of scampi before I came to the Maremma. They are hilarious when you first lay eyes on them. Think of it like this, if a prawn and a lobster had babies, they’d be scampi. In this pasta dish, the rich flavour of the scampi is beautifully complemented by a delicate tomato sauce infused with brandy and garlic. Scampi are extremely flavourful. They have a sort of sweetness that is similar to a prawn, but are far more robust, so their flavour doesn’t get lost in the tomato sauce. This dish is a Maremman staple in the summertime. Over here, fish is incredibly good and plentiful. The scampi are caught in the Argentario Coast and shipped to pescarie (fishmongers) all over the Maremma on the same day. If you’re craving Pasta agli Scampi, don’t feel like cooking it and just happen to be on the Argentario Coast, visit the incredibly chic 1900s Hotel Don Pedro in Porto Ercole. A very generous bowl of this delicious fish pasta is only €18. The recipe I’m sharing with you is actually my husband’s! The man can’t cook anything but pasta, but when he does this dish, it’s a symphony. If you can’t get scampi or langoustine, you can use crab, prawn or lobster.

Hubby and his pasta

Pasta agli Scampi Serves 4 Ingredients
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup brandy
  • ½ chilli (optional)
  • 500g scampi, deveined, peeled and chopped. Reserve some of the heads to make the stock
  • 1x 450g of canned chopped tomatoes
  • A bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 500g of dried rigatoni pasta
. Method: Heat a deep frying pan on a medium heat and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. When hot, add the garlic and the chilli and fry for a few second. Add the scampi and scampi heads and cook for 3 minutes, pressing lightly to make sure you get a really concentrated fish stock sauce. Add the brandy and cook on a high heat until the alcohol has evaporated (about 5 minutes). For some quick pyrotechnics, flambé the brandy, just be careful not to singe yourself! Add the canned tomatoes and lower the heat. Cook for at least 15 minutes. Remove the scampi heads. Meanwhile, put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions. Remember to add a teaspoon of salt to the water. When the tomatoes have reduced into a thickish sauce (the longer you cook it on a low heat, the more flavourful the sauce will be), season with salt and pepper to taste and add the cooked pasta. Toss and serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Buon appetito!

Elisa Scarton Detti

Elisa is an Australian journalist who came to Tuscany for a year, fell in love (how cliché?) and decided to stick around. Not one to keep amazing holiday destinations to herself, she now writes a blog and travel guide about the infinitely beautiful Tuscany.

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