Generally, it doesn’t really matter which type of pasta to use when cooking it with the seafood. It’s going to be delicious anyway! However, when it comes to shellfish, especially clams, I prefer to use kusksu, as I like how this pasta gets inside the shells and mixes with the sauce… Mmm.. Even the thought about it starts making me hungry!
The method of kusksu preparation is very straightforward – it’s actually based on the same principle as that of risotto. The stock is added little by little, which makes the flavours of the dish more intense, compared to pasta that was simply boiled in the water. Additionally, you’ll find it much easier to control the cooking process.
This particular recipe I want to share with you today is inspired by Sardinian frigola. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to find it in Malta, but, in my opinion, kusksu is a perfect substitute for it! I recommend you to toast the pasta in a large, dry frying pan over medium-low heat, tossing it occasionally, until it gets slightly brown and you can feel amazing nutty and sweet aroma in your kitchen!
Risotto-style kusksu with clams
- 1 kg clams
- Olive oil
- 2 shallots
- 1 cup toasted kusksu (see tips above)
- 1-1,5 litres homemade fish stock (see basic recipes and kitchen tips)
- Hot chili flakes
- Small bunch of parsley (leaves only)
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- Zest of ½ lemon
- First prepare the clams for cooking (see tips).
- Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a deep frying pan over a medium heat, add half of the shallots and let them sweat until they are tender and translucent.
- Add toasted kusksu to the pan and give a good stir to coat the pasta in the oil.
- Meanwhile bring the stock to a simmer.
- Now ladle by ladle add hot stock to the pasta like you do when cooking risotto. Stir from time to time and when the stock get absorbed in the pasta, add the next ladle. Amount of the stock you’ll use varies, but it’s better to have some extra stock at hand, just in case.
- While kusksu is cooking, you need to steam the clams. Heat some olive oil in a big pan. Add remaining shallots and cook until they are soft, adding a pinch or more of hot chili flakes, parsley and wine. Increase the heat and let it boil for a couple of minutes.
- Add half of clams into the pot and cover it with a lid. Cook until the clams are opened. Usually it takes just a few minutes. Scoop the clams out and add the remaining batch to the pan. Discard any clams, which remained closed.
- Add cooked clams to your pasta along with some lemon zest, stir and serve immediately.