Posted in Home Cooking

In Which One Whips Up a Quirky Take on Surf and Turf…

Believe it or not, this pasta has surf-n-turf...sort of...
Believe it or not, this pasta has surf-n-turf…sort of…

Wikipedia defines  surf and turf as:

…a main course in American cuisine which combines seafood and meat.  It is particularly common in British/Irish-style pubs in North America and North American steakhouses,  The “surf” part can refer to lobsterprawns, or shrimp, which may be grilled or breaded and fried. The “turf” part usually refers to a steak.

But really: it can be any combination of meat and seafood.  Steak and lobster is the combo normally associated with the term, but it could just as easily be pork and shrimp, chicken and scallops, even – in this particular scenario – sausage and fish.

Today’s recipe is another of my “love food, hate waste” experiments in that I used leftover peppered Italian sausage (kind of like pepperoni, but sold in links as opposed to circular slices), a half-cup of cream I had in the fridge, the last of a bottle of red wine, and some mushroom broth (the brine drained from a tin of sliced button mushrooms).  Everything gets cooked down to a lovely sauce with some store-bought tomato sauce and other seasonings – and gets amped up further by a topping of peppered-up cream dory.

Because cream dory is such a mild-tasting fish, its flavor doesn’t overpower that of the sauce the way a stronger-tasting fish would.  In fact, when dusted with pepper and pan-fried till just done, it is the perfect thing with which to top a serving of sauced-up pasta.  You get a delicate, slightly meaty flavor pushed up to the fore by the addition of black pepper nicely complementing the creamy tanginess of the sauce.

Personally, this has to be my favorite spin on the surf-and-turf theme as it is quite elegant and most certainly delicious.

Tomato-Cream Pasta with Peppered Cream Dory

  • 1 250g pack spaghetti prepared according to package instructions, saving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water
  • 1 330ml retort pouch Italian-style tomato spaghetti sauce or same amount of jarred tomato-based pasta sauce
  • 1 cup mushroom broth
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose or single cream
  • 1 cup Italian sausage or pepperoni, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed, and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin), halved
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine (for preference, a Spanish or Aussie wine works best)
  • scant 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 beef or pork bouillon cube
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning or a fistful of mixed fresh basil and oregano, finely chopped
  • 1/4 kilo fresh oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium creme dory fillet, cubed
  • salt and pepper

Prepare the pasta according to package instructions.  Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water; set aside.

Season the dory fillet with salt and pepper.  Heat a frying pan over medium heat.  Add half the oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the fish and cook for approximately 2 – 5 minutes.  Set aside.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the remaining oil.  Add the onion and cook until softened.  Add the garlic, cook until the garlic has browned, then add the bouillon cube and the herbs.  Cook the mixture until fragrant, then add the mushrooms.  When the mushrooms have softened, add the sausage and cook for an additional two minutes.  Pour in the mushroom broth, reserved pasta water, spaghetti sauce, and the wine.  Stir well and bring to a boil; taste and check for seasoning.  Reduce the heat and add the sugar and cream, stirring until well-combined and the sugar has dissolved.

Remove the sauce from the heat and toss in the pasta.  Divide the sauced pasta among four plates and top with the peppered dory.

Serves 4.



Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended in June 2016 These days, she works full time at Philippine Tatler as a features writer under the nom de guerre Marga Manlapig. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel. Follow her on Instagram at @midgekmanlapig.

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