1 small Mediterranean island
1 well kept medium sized villa with a view of the sea
2-3 weeks of vacation time
500 g of fresh, red shrimp
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 small zucchini
8-10 small ripe tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of white wine or Prosecco left over from last night’s dinner
In the morning, go out in search of the perfect coffee bar. This is a critical step. It’s important the barrista gets to know your coffee order so if there is a crowd at the bar, he already knows how you like your coffee and you just need to raise an eyebrow to place your order.
This gives you time to discuss the meaning of life, what to do during the day and to watch what people are buying at the fishmonger’s truck outside the door. I already had my heart set on the ‘gamberi rossi’ (red shrimp) so it was divine confirmation when the fishmonger brought a plate of the raw shrimp into the bar as an apertivi to be shared and eaten ‘crudo’ (raw).
Yes. Raw shrimp. If the shrimp have never been frozen, still wrapped in the scent of the sea, and are beguiling red, it does seem like a pretty good idea.
When it is time to eat, meander into the kitchen, fill a pasta pot with water and figure out how to turn on the stovetop.
Now chop a small white onion. Cube a small zucchini. Using a pan big enough to hold the spaghetti and everything else, sauté the vegetables in olive oil for 2-3 minutes until they soften and snuggle. Pour in the wine and let that simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
Quarter or halve your tomatoes depending on the size. Be sure to pop at least one of the tomatoes in your mouth while you are quartering them so that you know what they taste like. Chop 1-2 cloves of garlic. You can taste that too if you are so inclined.
By now the salted pasta water has boiled and your spaghetti is 2-3 minutes away from being done. Add 2 cups of the pasta cooking water to the zucchini and onions. Drain the pasta and add to the zucchini pot, adding the tomatoes and garlic and mix well. Cook for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and cook for another minute, mixing well. You really only want the shrimp to be heat kissed. Now serve the spaghetti ‘in padella’, or in the cooking pan. While it looks romantic, the truth is the villa didn’t come with a serving platter. Oh well, the hardship we must endure.
Serve with a smile and a good box of chilled white wine!
A note about that Mediterranean island: we are having a group meeting to determine if we will disclose our location...or keep it a secret.