The Food and Drug Administration, marine scientists, environmental experts and members of the fishing community all agree that the seafood on the market from the Gulf of Mexico is safe to eat. Now I’m giving it the Batali stamp of approval. Gulf seafood is back. And crayfish, one of the Gulf area’s beloved crustaceans, is no exception.
BUCATINI WITH CRAYFISH, JALAPENO AND BASIL
Serves 8 to 10 as a first course, 6 as a main course.
5 pounds crayfish, boiled, cooled, tails removed and shells discarded to yield 8 ounces shelled tail meat (or use 8 ounces frozen crayfish tail meat from our Gulf regions, thawed)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 jalapeno peppers, cored, seeded and julienned
2 cups basic tomato sauce (for quick results, try my Mario Batali pasta sauces)
2 tablespoons salt
1½ pounds bucatini pasta
½ cup fresh basil leaves
Grated zest of 2 lemons
• Pick through the crayfish tail meat and discard any extra bits of shell.
• Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil in a large pasta pot.
• In a 14-inch saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and jalapenos, and cook until the garlic is light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cook until slightly dense, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat to a simmer.
• Add the salt to the boiling water. Drop the bucatini into the water and cook for 1 minute less than the package instructions indicate. Just before it is done, carefully ladle ¼ cup of the cooking water into the tomato-jalapeno sauce, and add the crayfish to the sauce too.
• Drain the pasta in a colander and add it into the crayfish mixture. Add the basil and lemon zest, and toss over medium heat for about 30 seconds, until the pasta is nicely coated. Pour into a warmed serving bowl, and serve immediately.
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