Friday, July 18, 2014

Linguine Diva Pescatore “LDP” Cioppino Pasta

With Lana Del Rey's new album on repeat here, her song "West Coast" is my strong favorite, currently. In one section she says...

"Down on the West Coast, they got their icons

Their silver starlets, their Queens of Saigons
And you've got the music, you've got the music in you, don't you?"

When she sings it, I'm inspired. I'm like, "Yeah! I have the music in me." It's that good song feeling we all get when we are moved by the music. And we certainly do have our icons...this is true. One icon is known to the world and helped inspire this week's recipe making process...

This recipe was born after watching Diner’s, Drive In & Dives last week. Believe it or not, I’ve never watched that show but heard Gene Simmons was going to be on and, believe it or not, I once worked for Gene. Well, kind of. I worked for The Woman who worked for Gene at the Hotter Than Hell Wedding Chapel. We saw a lot of crazy sh*t.  I could write a short book about my time there, but let’s just say it was the KISS chapel…in Las Vegas…the only one in world like it. Actually, it was batsh*t crazy banana pants almost every single day. It was fun! I guess I’m weird like that -  with a fascination for all things bizarre, eccentric or outside of the “box” so to speak. Maybe being born in Vegas does that to people, I’m not really sure.  In any case, I felt that I had to watch the Gene episode for old times’ sake.

Back in the day he would stop in once in a while (which was not really stopping in, but more like bringing the circus.) On one particular occasion, it was June in Las Vegas and the air unit went down in our VIP Room, set to house Gene and his guests. The temperature was rising like an oven in there and we were scrambling to get someone out to fix it. It did eventually get fixed but in the interim, we had fans set up everywhere providing some relief. One problem, though, there were bodies I was a circus. At one point, I maneuvered through the crowd to a spot I thought was clear only to find out why that spot was clear....within a minute Mr. Simmons shouted to me ," YOUR BLOCKING THE FAN!!!"
"Oh NO!" I thought. The whole room stopped and looked at me. Silence. Faces. I quickly jumped out of the spot, heart-racing, knot-in-throat...THE DEMON had just flagged me. Oh man. Not good. Until he quipped.... "I mean, WHERE would KISS be without our FANS?!" ... the room laughed and returned to their conversations, signings and gatherings. Ahhhhh, well played Gene Simmons, well played. So, the one thing I can say about Mr. Simmons is that he IS a very powerful and intimidating man. I can see the allure. But, he’s also quite charming.

Okay, getting back to the recipe, on this episode they stop in at the Monterrey Fish House and make a divine-looking Sicilian Holiday Pasta with a base of marinara and clam broth and an amalgam of seafood. I was sitting there Oh-Mah-Gawd-ing. I’ve been thinking about that damn dish all week. I watched the scene in slow motion and wrote down the assemblage of ingredients. “I can do this,” I thought.  So, I set out to find what I was looking for.

At the local grocery, I talked to the nice gentleman behind the seafood counter about the dish I was dreaming up. Shrimp, Crab, Clams were essentials but the rest was sort of fluid. He said their swordfish was looking good…and it did, mighty fine indeed. So, I swooped that up and added salmon to the mix. You can use almost any fleshy fish in this recipe but I LOVED the swordfish and would double it but skip the salmon, next time.

Linguine Diva Pescatore "L.D.P." Cioppino Pasta

Serves 5-6


7 Tomatoes, skins removed
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp  Grapeseed Oil
1 White Onion, chopped
7 Cloves Garlic, minced,
½ tsp red pepper flakes
Sprinkle of Black Pepper
1 tsp Dried Basil
½ tsp Dried Oregano
1 Cup Loose Basil Leaves, chiffonade


1 Cup Clam Juice
1 Cup Dry White Wine
1 Cup Water
Shrimp Shells
Sprig of Thyme


1 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
1 ½  lb Clams
1 lb Shrimp
½  lb Snow Crab
1 ½ lb Firm White Fish Steaks (swordfish, cod, halibut, seabass, etc..)


1 lb Linguine
Large Pot of Water
Salt for Water

In a Dutch Oven or large pot, add olive oil and grapeseed oil. Heat oil on medium heat and add garlic & onions; sprinkle black pepper over the top. Cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes (or until they turn translucent) stirring occasionally. Take care not to burn or brown for the marinara won't taste just right.

Add chopped tomatoes, skins removed. To remove the skins first, just steam them for a few minutes in a covered pot with about an inch of water in the bottom. Let them cool on a cutting board and the skins will slip right off, leaving just the tomato flesh to work with.

Chop up the tomatoes and add to onions/garlic. Add red pepper flakes, dried basil and dried oregano.

Chiffonade (see pic below for a quick how to chiffonade) half of the basil bunch; reserve the smaller delicate leaves for garnish.  

Easy Chiffonade- Stack, Roll, Slice into threads

Add the chiffonade basil to the pot.

Cover and simmer low for one hour.

Peel Shrimp for use later, leaving just the tail on. You can take the tail shell off, of course; I like the look & makes for easy pick-up-and-eat shrimp.

Save the shells in a stock pot and heat on medium with a sprig of thyme. Refrigerate shrimp for later.

Add one cup of clam juice to a stockpot.  Originally I thought I’d make my own but as my son loves to say, “NOBODY’S GOT TIME FOR THAT!” so I used a promisingly labeled bottled of Bar Harbor all natural clam juice, and it was just right.

Add one cup of water and one cup of dry white wine. Bring all to a boil then lower to a simmer; cover & simmer for 45 minutes. Add a few splashes of water as the water evaporates.

Strain out solids & toss those; set the broth aside.

Prep your fish by cutting out any skin/bones/bloodlines – rinse clams, fish, shrimp, crab, etc… Pat dry. Cut fish into portions so everyone gets at least one good piece. Sprinkle fish steaks & shrimp with salt and pepper. Set aside for a few minutes while you prep the pasta –

Fill a large pot with water. Add a good dose of salt. Bring to a rolling boil and drop your pasta in. Time it for 9 minutes.

Now you’ve got a lot going on – pasta’s boiling, marinara is done, broth set aside, fish waiting to be cooked…last pan you’ll need is a big one, like a paella pan. Add marinara, clam broth and Snow Crab to pan and stir/heat together.

Now, while your pasta and sauce are working, get a grill pan searing hot with 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil. Put the fish steaks in, pretty side down and grill for 3 minutes.

Add Clams while fish cooks. Toss any that don't open up.

Flip fish and grill the other side for 30 seconds. Into the sauce they go; put them down in the sauce with the pretty side facing up and the 30 second side down under the sauce, so they can finish cooking and absorb all the deliciousness.

"Pretty" Side Up

Add Shrimp to the hot pan; grill for 45 seconds per side & into the sauce they go.

Add a ladle of pasta water – I use the salted pasta water as the salt in the dish so taste as you go, and when it has a good salty-ness, it’s good to go. I used a couple ladles.

Let the water evaporate a bit over medium heat – about 4 minutes. Turn heat off.

Finish with the remaining half of your fresh basil bunch chopped or chiffonaded & sprinkled generously over the top.

Strain the cooked pasta, but don’t rinse!

Serve family style in a large pretty dish over a bed of linguine and saucey-fish goodness over the top or in bowls with noodles and a ladle of sauce and fish over top.

YUM YUM YUM is all there is to say.

I hope you LOVE it, too!!!

Until next time….Happy Cooking! 


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