Serves 8 to 10 as a first course, 6 as a main
5 pounds crayfish, boiled, cooled, tails removed and shells discarded to yield 8 ounces shelled tail meat
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 jalapeño peppers, cored, seeded and julienned
2 cups basic tomato sauce (either homemade or Mario’s own)
2 tablespoons salt
1 ½ pounds bucatini pasta
½ cup fresh basil leaves
Grated zest of 2 lemons
Pick through crayfish tail meat and discard any extra shell bits.
Bring 8 quarts water to a boil in a large pasta pot.
In a 14-inch sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and jalapeños and cook until garlic is light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cook until slightly dense, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat to a simmer.
Add the salt to the boiling water. Drop the bucatini into the water and cook for 1 minute less than the package instructions indicate. Just before it is done, carefully ladle ¼ cup of the cooking water into the tomato-jalepeno sauce, and add the crayfish to the sauce too.
Drain the pasta in a colander and add it into the pan with the crayfish mixture. Add basil and lemon zest, and toss over medium heat about 30 seconds until nicely coated. Pour into a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Molto Batali (ecco, 2011)