Pasta Recipes by Donal Skehan: Seafood Linguine, Risotto and Italian Mash-up

My love for pasta, in any form, never wanes. It’s a long-term love affair that began modestly in the 1990s with my mother’s Irish-style spaghetti bolognese and solidified at the kitchen tables of Italian nonnas while I was filming a TV series in Italy years ago.

If you travel through different regions of the country, It’s easy to understand the passion Italians have for their food. Everyone has its own unique food culture, complete with classic dishes, pasta shapes and specific ingredients.

in central Italy, You can find guanciale, the salted pork cheek that unlocks the secret of the most authentic carbonara. And some of the freshest seafood I’ve ever tasted is in the kitchens and on the dining tables the South.

THere are many dishes for us home cooks to draw inspiration from for easy weeknight meals that evoke the essence of an Italian trattoria.

As Spring draws our attention to lighter meals and a new season of ingredients to choose from. An ideal way to herald a change in the kitchen, this Crab Zucchini Linguine is a fresh, flavorful 15-minute seafood pasta that’s spectacularly eaten al fresco.

Use a julienne peeler to lightly trim the zucchini and toss in some arugula leaves if you fancy an extra peppery green bite. You can find prepared crab meat in tubs and vacuum packs at most supermarkets and fishmongers. Don’t skimp on the brown meat—it’s important for adding depth to the dish.

Next up, a scammer’s spring risotto with orzo, mint, and zucchini. Orso is great for stirring through soups and stews to add volume and a silky, starchy finish. It also requires far less cooking time than arborio rice and doesn’t require half the stirring of a traditional risotto.

Lastly, I present you with the kind of bowl of flour and starch that is needed after a long week. Reach for my totally non-Italian mash-up that breaks a lot of the rules – all in the name of taste. Brie is stirred Fresh egg pappardelle with chunks of salty pancetta, sweet cherry tomatoes and caramelized onion tagliatelle.

Brie, Pancetta & Caramelized Onion Pappardelle


Brie, Pancetta & Caramelized Onion Pappardelle

Time: 45 minutes Servings: 4

4 tbsp olive oil
40g unsalted butter
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
300 g cherry tomatoes, halved
125 g pork belly, diced
200 g Brie, ripe, at room temperature and diced
250 g fresh egg pappardelle
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil and the butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and sauté, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onions are caramelized. This should take around 30-40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes in a
Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil, season and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
4. Once the onion is cooked, scoop it out of the pan. Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook the pancetta until golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Return the onion to the pan and add the roasted cherry tomatoes and diced brie.
5. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 5-6 minutes, then remove with tongs and add to the pan over low heat. Swirl to combine and let the heat melt the brie. Serve immediately.

Cheat’s Spring Risotto with Orzo, Mint & Zucchini


Cheat’s Spring Risotto with Orzo, Mint & Zucchini

Time 25 minutes For 4 people

2 tbsp olive oil
25g unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 sprigs of lemon thyme, leaves removed
350 g orzo pasta
750 ml hot vegetable or chicken stock
2 large zucchini, roughly grated
100 g frozen peas
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus a squeeze of juice
125 ml double cream
1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
65g Pecorino (or vegetarian alternative), grated
50 g baby spinach leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1. Heat the oil and butter in a sauté pan and gently sauté the onion for 5 minutes before adding the lemon thyme leaves and orzo. Mix everything together, then add 600 ml of the broth and the courgettes. Season well, then cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add peas, lemon zest, remaining broth and cream and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
3. Fold in the mint, pecorino and baby spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted slightly. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and lots of black pepper.

Spicy crab and zucchini linguine


Spicy crab and zucchini linguine. Images: Donal Skehan

Time 15 minutes For 4 people

400 grams of linguine
1 tbsp olive oil
30g unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Finely grated zest of one lemon and a good squeeze of juice
2 zucchini, julienned or coarsely grated
50 g brown crab meat
200 g white crab meat
3 tablespoons finely chopped chervil or parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the linguine and cook al dente, 10-12 minutes. Reserve about 175ml of the cooking liquid just before draining.
2. For the sauce, heat the oil and butter in a pan over medium-high heat and gently sauté the garlic, chili, and lemon zest for a few minutes. Add the zucchini and increase the heat and sauté for a few more minutes.
3. Stir in the brown crab meat and cook for 30 seconds. Add 125 ml pasta cooking water, season and stir.
4. Drain the pasta and toss in the sauce. Then fold in the white crab meat, adding a splash more water if needed, and the herbs. Serve with a good squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of black pepper. Pasta Recipes by Donal Skehan: Seafood Linguine, Risotto and Italian Mash-up

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