Every summer, the coastal town of Chioggia is home to the sagra del pesce, a festival that celebrates the region’s maritime heritage and long-established fishing tradition. Along the bustling main streets, stalls vie for your attention, offering an array of fresh seafood from baccala to pesciolini fritti. Among the kaleidescopic variety of dishes on offer, spaghetti alla busara stands out for its rustic simplicity. The sauce itself is a blend of homegrown Venetian tastes: think vine ripened tomatoes, freshly caught scampi, parsley, garlic, a healthy glug of white wine and a hint of chilli, brought together by a good amount of olive oil. Basic in nature, sublime in taste.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Calories per serving: 735 kcal
100ml olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
600g of ripe cherry or plum tomatoes, roughly chopped (on the vine, if possible)
a pinch of chilli flakes
250ml white wine
25-30 large whole raw prawns
a handful of chopped parsley
a pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Pour ⅔ of the olive oil into a saucepan and let warm over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic.
- As they begin to sizzle, add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, chilli flakes, saffron and sprinkle of salt to taste. Cook for about 4 minutes, ensuring to continually stir to prevent the onion and garlic from burning. Add the white wine and cook for another minute.
- Add 100ml of water to the pan, bring to the boil and then add a generous sprinkling of salt. Stir to ensure everything is well mixed and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pour the final ⅓ of olive oil in another frying pan and set over a high heat. When the pan is searingly hot, fry the prawns for a minute and then remove from the heat.
- Remove the lid from the saucepan and add the prawns to the wine and tomato mixture. Combine well and season with salt and fresh black pepper to taste.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Once bubbling, add a generous spinkling of salt. Cook the spaghetti just until al dente.
- Reserve a ladle full of pasta water before draining the spaghetti. Transfer the pasta to the pan with the tomato sauce. Stir until the spaghetti has absorbed most of the liquid and is evenly coated. Sprinkle with parsley to finish.
- Devour and enjoy. Buon appetito!
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