Closed Captioned For The Thinking Impaired

Friday, March 27, 2009

Linguine alla "Puttanesca" with Zucchini, Shrimp and Lamb-Feta Sausage

I was going to save this for Sunday, but I may not be able to post my Top Bloggers blog until then, so I'm posting this today. I actually wrote this on Monday night before all my internet access problems began. Thank you, Comcast, you bastards!

Since it was already loaded up with the pictures etc. all I have to do is post, unlike the Bloggers blog which I need to add everyone's pics to... what a pain!! I've got the SIM card on my laptop working now (Thank you, AT&T) which means I may be able to comment tonight, but I WILL be IMBIBALICIOUS so reader beware!

Anyway enjoy!
It's a good simple recipe.

It was a spectacular early Spring sunset last night with a fiery sky blazing in the west, the scent of blossoming acacias in the air and a strong breeze blowing like a bugle; all the harbingers of Spring in the San Francisco bay area.

Although, there was still enough of a chill in the air to make me think of cast iron pots bubbling with something warm and savory.

But, I've been on a pasta kick lately and had Campofilone's yummy red chili linguine waiting to be liberated from its package in the pantry. I wanted something that would go well with the pasta & still satisfy that urge for a little cast iron cookery.

The hubby envisioned a puttanesca-like sauce with olives, capers, garlic and some shrimp for added protein.

I saw a lamb & feta sausage at Whole Foods and some pretty little zucchini and decided they would provide an earthiness to the sauce & a contrast to the fiery chilis in the pasta with the briny shrimp. A sort of new twist on surf and turf!

Green basil was nowhere to be found but I spied a frilly opal basil much more pungent than the usual sweet basilica but still a match for the intensely flavored sauce. Some leftover '01 Castel Giacondo Brunello di Montalcino from last night would be a good way to deglaze the pot & we were off!!!

The sunset last night provided quite a show while I was cooking dinner. It took all my discipline to prevent myself from grabbing my glass of '02 Leroy Mersault & sitting in front of the window with the hubby to watch nature bask in all it's glory. Because as some you pals know, I am not imbibing during the week anymore, dammit!!

Instead I assembled all my ingredients for a group photo:

and dinner was as good as cooked (although with too many ingredients & steps to be considered "Lazy Gourmet"-style which it isn't)...

Red Chili Linguine alla "Puttanesca" with Zucchini, Shrimp and Lamb-Feta Sausage

Note: This recipe is puttanesca-ish. I'll call it a puttanesca because it makes it sound so naughty. I guess I should call it "amatranesca" but I don't want to start inventing Italian words that don't make sense.

I do add the dried chilis, tomatoes, olives, capers and anchovies (actually Thai fish sauce which is made from pressed anchovies) of the puttanesca but I don't mince the olives, I slice them and I keep the capers whole.

I also add a bit of diced zucchini, raw shrimp & lamb sausage this time which could make it seem more amatriciana-like if I added guanciale as the protein instead of all the other stuff and, of course, from a purist's standpoint, the olives & capers would be atypical in amatriciana sauce; so it's not quite that either.

Oh well! Whatever the original dish this bastardization comes from, it's yummy, easy to make, cooks quickly & is very satisfying. Go very light on the salt when seasoning along the way and taste, taste, taste because most of these ingredients including the shrimp are full of sodium.
The flavors get layered in, be patient, you'll be glad you were. It was almost worth missing that amazing sunset for!!! I promise to write all down tomorrow but now it's beddy-bye time.


  • 1 lb. of raw 20 count raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined (Whole Food sells E Z peel ones with shells on & the vein already removed)
  • 2 large cooked lamb-feta sausage (these had fennel in them, yummy; any sweet Italian pork sausage, guanciale or pancetta can be substituted), cooled & cut into small dice
  • 1 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes, cut into small dice with liquid
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed & minced finely
  • 2 young zucchini, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1 tablespoon of capers, drained (if you use capers stored in salt, be sure to rinse off the salt first)
  • 12 pitted black olives, each sliced into 4 pieces(I used nicoise, you can use any you like)
  • handful of parsley, chopped finely
  • 3 sprigs of oregano, leaves only, chopped finely
  • 6 basil leaves, cut into a fine chiffonade
  • a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • the juice of half a Meyer lemon
  • extra-virgin olive oil for sauteing & drizzling
  • 1/2 cup of dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup of dry white wine (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable stock (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons on half & half (optional)
  • 1 8.8 oz package of Campofilone Red Chili Dried Egg Linguine
  • freshly ground sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • a block of parmigiano-reggiano, for grating (optional)
  • lemon wedges (optional)


1) Start with a large heavy bottomed pot, over medium heat. I'm using a 7 quart Le Creuset cast iron Bouillabaisse pot. So pretty!

2) Drizzle enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan & add sausages. Cook the sausages with the pot lid on to prevent spatter & steam them slightly as they saute, turning them every few minutes until all the fat is released & the sausages are just evenly cooked. 10 minutes or so. (Not pictured the grease would have splattered all over the camera lens)

3) Meantime, peel your shrimp, give them a quick cold water rinse and dry them on paper towels and season them with freshly ground black pepper.

4) If you haven't fully prepared your mise en place, better finish it now while the sausages are cooking. Chop and set every thing in its place so it is ready and within reach when you are. While it is always best to prepare your ingredients before you begin to cook, an uncomplicated meal like this doesn't always mandate it. Unless you are not familiar with the dish, in which case, you must prepare everything to be sure you have what you need.

5) Next, when the sausages are cooked remove them from the pot and place them on a chopping block to cool. Lower heat under pot to medium- medium low.

6) While sausages are cooling, wad up a long piece of paper towel and using a pair of long metal tongs to hold it, soak up most of the excess fat released by the sausages in the pot leaving about a teaspoon's worth of the lamb fat in the pot and dispose of the paper towel.

7) Add enough e.v.o.o. to coat the bottom of the pot and to that add a pinch of red pepper flakes, a quick grind of sea salt & black pepper and then the zucchini, giving it a quick stir to coat it evenly with the oil and begin to dislodge some of the fond (browned bits left in the bottom of the pan by the sausage), followed by the capers & then the olives.

8) After giving it all a bit of a stir, add 1/3 the parsley, 1/3 the oregano & 1/3 of the basil & stir it in until aromatic.

9) Meantime, your sausage should have cooled enough to allow you to chop into small dice roughly the equivalent of the size of the zucchini. (Normally, I would have cooked the sausage out of its casing in step 2, eliminating the need for cooling & dicing but these lamb sausages have chunks of feta in them which would have burned in the bottom of the pot had I not cooked them whole.) Add them to the pot with the zucchini mixture. Give them a stir & let them mingle with the veggies for a minute or two.

10) Time to deglaze the pan. Turn the heat up to medium-high & add your red wine. Let it sizzle a moment then stir well and scrape up the pot frond, releasing all the brown bits. Allow the wine to reduce by 3/4 (about 3- 5 minutes).

When the wine is almost evaporated then add the tomatoes to the mixture stirring well to combine & add another 1/3 of the parsley, 1/3 of the oregano & 1/3 of the basil. Taste the sauce. Adjust the seasoning but keep in mind that we haven't added the fish sauce yet which is very salty. Reduce the heat to medium & cover the pot.
Let the sauce cook for 5-7 minutes.

11) While the sauce is cooking, fill a pasta pot 3/4 of the way with water and place over medium-high heat to boil.

While that is getting ready to boil, remove the lid from the sauce & set aside. Stir, taste it, if the sauce looks dry add a 1/4 cup of white wine and stir it in. Let it cook down a minute or two.

Then add a 1/4 cup of vegetable stock, stir that in. Taste it, if the sauce is too acidic add the half & half & stir. Let it cook a minute or so. If it still seems to "winey" or acidic add a little more half & half and/or drizzle in a little olive oil. Stir well.

12) When the sauce seems balanced, add the fish sauce; an 1/8 of a teaspoon goes a long way, so be careful not to add too much. Adjust the seasoning to your taste (pepper, salt) & lower the heat to a bare simmer.

13) Get ready to poach the shrimp over very low heat, add them one at a time in a single layer across the bottom of the pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 of parsley, oregano & basil & the juice of half a Meyer lemon.

Cover pot tightly with the lid & gently poach shrimp for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir the shrimp into the sauce & wait for the pasta.

14) While shrimp poach, prepare the pot for your pasta by adding a teaspoon or so of sea salt to the boiling water. Remember, this Campofilone thin egg pasta cooks in 2-3 minutes. My directions & timing for the sauce are presuming that you use this pasta.If you are using a different type of pasta cook it according to the package instructions.

If it is a pasta that requires a longer cooking time, be sure you adjust the cooking time of the shrimp to accommodate the pasta. Overcooked shrimp are not good tasting. Make the necessary adjustments ahead of time.

15) When the water starts to resume boiling, add the linguine & cook stirring often at first to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook no longer than three minutes (or according to package directions) or until it is al dente (fully cooked but still slightly resistant to the tooth when you bite into it). You will continue to cook the pasta for a minute or so in the sauce itself; so don't overcook it now.

16) When the pasta is cooked, remove the pot from the heat & place it near the sauce pot.
Using metal tongs or a pasta fork, carefully lift the pasta from the water, one tongful at a time, allowing the excess water to drain before placing the linguine in the sauce pot.

When you have placed all the pasta in the sauce, grate to taste some fresh parmigiano-reggiano directly on the pasta to season it. Then gently fold it into the sauce until it is well combined & coated in the sauce.

Serve in warm bowls with slices of lemon, a drizzle of the best quality olive oil & a little dusting of Parmigiano. Enjoy!!!

This recipe serves four.

This recipe was also posted on my MySpace blog, so the following pertains to that site, but I will leave it in anyway...
It's fun! :)

CC is my nom de plume there. It stands for Closed Captioned For the Thinking Impaired which is what I call my blog there.

Not exactly a pasta primavera, but still the lamb sausage, the shrimp, the zucchini... haha.... let's say they are best in the Springtime even if we lie... ;P

What's your fave pasta dishes?
Feel free to post a recipe, if you like.

Will you be IMBIBALICIOUS tonight, like I plan to be?

Do you hate Comcast & Motorola, too?

Here were a few of my statuses yesterday that cracked some of my pals up:

C.C.says... Well, boys & girls after 5 GODDAMN internet cafes, one SIM card, a shitload of aggravation & several espressos... CC has replied to EVERY COMMENT!! Yay
Mood: TOMICIDAL at 2:14 PM Mar 26

C.C.says Oh my Spesus!! She finally found a place with halfway decent wireless, but now the MySmegma has begun!! Why is MySpazz double & triple posting EVERYTHING?
Mood: TOMICIDAL at 11:17 AM Mar 26

Then there was this bulletin update:

Okay, this took me 5 internet cafes, one SIM card, several espressos & a shitload of MySmegma because TheSpasms were at all-time high, but I am NEVER deterred, dammit!!

Comcast, Tom & Motorola be fucked.... I will REPLY!!!

So come & get your love!
I'll hand here at the Espresso Roma Cafe for a bit more then I am dragging my ass to the gym for an EXPLOSIVE workout!! Because I NEED RELEASE!!!!!!!


C.C. in response to a bulletin comment from a pal:

Mar 26, 2009 2:45 PM

No, it's my modem for my iMac. It's 3 years old. My laptop is fine, but the access at the cafes were so painfully slow, I used my iPhone.... UGH!!! Then I bought a SIM Card but HELLO, you need internet access to install it!! FUCK! So I'm at another cafe & getting ready to download the software for the damn "Air Card" I am ready to BITE somebody HARD!!! ;p

You are now fully updated on my state of mind ...hahah...