Luciano’s Spaghetti with Crayfish
Maria Dolores (Lola) was my first friend after arriving in Alicante, Spain 20+ years ago. She extended her hand in friendship and since then we have gone through many highs and lows in both our lives. Her family have become my Spanish family.
One Sunday, her middle son, Daniel, who is a chef, prepared this delicious dish for us. Lola shared the recipe with Daniel with love, and Daniel cooked it for us with love. Lola then revealed the story, and the man, behind the dish.
Lola: “This recipe has a special place in my heart. It was given to me, written in his own hand, by Luciano, chef at La Nonna Restaurant in Alicante. He was a patient of my husband, Alfonso, and was in the terminal phases of illness. The recipe was given to me shortly before Luciano was admitted to hospital for the last time. I have kept it close for many years and have given it to very few people, but I think the time is right now to pay tribute to Luciano by sharing the recipe.
Luciano was a man who dedicated his life to cooking and, for me, was an example of someone who exhibited great dignity. He decided against treatment for his illness, saying ‘I have lived well and that’s been enough.’ My husband, Alfonso, helped him though his last days – something of which I am extremely proud.
Luciano was a chef and a creator. Like all chefs he enjoyed making people happy through the excellent flavours of his creations. I hope people will prepare this dish with love in their hearts and, in doing so, make Luciano a happy man.”
12-16 crayfish, depending on size, fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
8 tablespoons finely chopped onion
400grf fresh tomato, skinned, deseeded and chopped very finely
2 glasses of dry white wine
1 glass of cognac
½ a chopped chilli (optional)
150gr single cream
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Defrost the crayfish if necessary. Separate the heads from the tails, setting both to one side.
Put the oil into a large frying pan and fry the onion and garlic without allowing them to change colour. Before adding the crayfish, make sure that the onion is soft. Once the onion and garlic are ready, add the crayfish (heads and tails) and fry all together on a medium heat. Keep turning the crayfish over regularly. It should take about 5 minutes for the crayfish to cook, depending on their size.
When the crayfish have changed from grey to pink and are done, add the wine and cognac, salt, pepper and chilli.
Allow the liquid to reduce to about half and then add the tomato and allow it to soak into the crayfish. Add the single cream and leave the mixture to rest for a minute or two. The sauce should not be thick.
In the meantime cook the spaghetti with salt according to the instructions. When the spaghetti is ‘al dente’, drain and put into a frying pan with a little olive oil.
Then, pour the crayfish and the sauce on top and mix well. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.