With the return of an ‘r’ in the month, September brings with it some of the fantastic British seafood that’s available again. This dish does use several different species, using up all parts to extract the most flavour, but you can vary and substitute them according to what’s available. The Smoked Chilli Harissa gives depth of flavour as well as a good slug of heat and the starch in the Malloredus helps to thicken the broth to give it a comforting texture, all of which feels ideal for when the weather begins to cool.
500g raw shell on prawns
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 large bulb fennel, tough outer parts removed, diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
75ml Early Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp Smoked Chilli Harissa
300ml dry white wine
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Pinch saffron – optional
½ stock cube, chicken or vegetable
200g Malloredus Pasta
500g cleaned white fish (ask the fishmonger for the bones and skin), such as cod, pollock, gurnard, cut into large chunks
250g cleaned squid, cut into rings
1 kg mussels
1 small bunch/30g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Remove the heads and peel the shells off all the prawns, then place in a medium pan and cook on a high heat until the shells turn pink and the pan is almost dry, crushing the prawn heads with a spoon. Add any fish bones and skin that you may have, then add 1.5 litres water and bring up to a simmer, for 15 minutes, removing any scum that forms on the surface. Strain the stock through a sieve and discard the shells and bones.
While the sock is simmering, place a large frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the onions, fennel, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until softened, sweet and beginning to caramelise, then add the tomato paste and harissa and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the white wine and reduce by half. Add the stock, tinned tomatoes, stock cube and saffron, then turn up the heat so that it begins to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the malloredus pasta and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently as it can get stick to the bottom.
Place the mussels in a separate pan with a splash of water and place on a high heat with the lid on. Allow to steam for 3-4 minutes or until all the shells have opened. Discard any that don’t open. Strain off the mussel juice and add to the main pan.
Zest both lemons and set aside then cut each lemon into 4 wedges.
Once the pasta is cooked add the prawns, squid and white fish and stir gently so that they are submerged. If necessary, turn the heat down as the idea is to almost poach the fish in the liquid. Stir once or twice to prevent any sticking, but not too much as the fish can fall apart.
Once cooked, taste the broth and add more salt and pepper as necessary. Add the parsley and lemon zest, stir through then divide between large bowls and top with mussels, a drizzle of olive oil and a wedge of lemon.