Tag Archives: パスタ

Italian Cuisine: Cozze e Gamberi Salsa al Pomodoro at Il Castagno in Shizuoka City

Service: Excellent and very friendly
Facilities: clean
Prices: reasonable
Specialty: Central and south Italian-style cuisine. Home-made pasta. Very reasonables prices
no-smoking-logo1 Non-smoking!

On Sundays, if I don’t any cricket to attend to nor an interview to conduct, I ususally make a point to take lunch at Il Castagno in Shizuoka City.
It is unpretentious and very welcoming, but the food, reasonably priced, is authentic and definitely worth a firs and second visit.
The specialties are mainly from the South, especially the Puglia area where the chef and his partner have recently visited some old friends.

Yesterday I opeted for a different type of pasta: Olechiette, typical of South Puglia. Incidentally all pasta at Il Castagno is home-nade fresh Pasta!

The past was accompanied with mussles and large prawns.
The sauce was prepared with tomatoes and finely chopped zucchini.
The whole was delicately presented in an oval deep plate with fresh Italian parsley.

Simple and so sophisticated at the same time!

420-0843 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Tomoe Cho, 48 (along Kitakaido Street)
Tel. & Fax: 054-247-0709
Business hours: 11:45~14:00, 17:30~21:00
Closed on Mondays and second Tuesdays
Lunch: 1,260 and 1,860 yen
Dinner: 4,000 and 5,000 yen
A la Carte menu and wine list available. Wine by the glass ok
Reservations recommended.
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope; Jacqueline Church; The Foodonymph (in Dubai!); Alchemy, Simple Ingredients, magical Food (in Ireland!); Curious Foodie; Mr. Foodie (London/UK)

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Scallops Salad


I remember that quite some tie ago my wife was “stuck” with some succulent-looking scallops. The problem was that they were too small to make acceptable sashimi. So for once, she forgot she was Japanese and opted for the European thinking.

She had some very fesh cress (cresson) grown in Shizuoka Prefecture as well as a variety of tomatoes called “Aamera”.
These tomatoes are the smallest that I have ever seen and are grown in our Prefecture only (so far).
They are very firm and very sweet. You could serve them together with a plate of red fruit!


So as you can see on the picture, she first made a thin bed of cress topped with avocado slices, made a rondo of scallops in the center with a core of cut aamera tomatoes. It certainly looked more difficult than it really was.

Topped with a dressing of your choice, with the oprion of some cottage cheese and finely cut Italian parsley or basil, it makes fro a beautiful appetizer!

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Seafood Spaghetti Salad


Simple recipes actually means what I’m ordered to cook, prepare or invent for my better (worse?) half on Saturday and Sunday nights as her job keeps her busy on weekends. These concoctions might come helpful for those gentlemen keen to preserve peace at home!

As for measures and proportions, I will leave it to your imagination, although a good observation of the picture should be a good enough guide to you! The plate pictured was one serving.

Prepare or choose a dressing for the spaghetti. I usually use soft Dijon Mustard, Xeres vinegar, hazelnut oil, salt, pepper and a few baies roses. Naturally, Olive oil, wine vinegar, soft mustard, salt and pepper is fine, too.
Boil the spaghetti to the consistency you prefer, drain them and hold them under running cold water for 30 seconds, shaking them well to prevent them from cooking any longer.
Drain the water energically and stir in some dressing for taste and to prevent them from sticking to each other. Leave in a all-purpose bowl.

At the top of the picture are slightly sauteed scallops with onion confit.
To make the onion confit (can be done the day before or a few hours in advance), peel and cut 2 large onions in thin slices. Discard the “foot” (bottom core) as it is indigestible. Fry them in a pot with 100g of white butter on a medium fire. When the onion slices have become soft and translucent, add a large tablespoon of honey, a cup of red wine, a tablespoon each of Xeres vinegar and Port wine. Season with salt and white pepper (thin powder if possible). Simer until most of the liwuid has reduced. Check and add more honey if not sweet enough. A little tomato puree might help,too. Let it cool and keep it away from any heat and light source (do not leave it in the fridge as it might congeal).
Sautee the scallops with a little slat and lemon juice on a small amout of olive oile. As soon as they have reached a very light brown colour, take them off the fire and let them rest on a grill to get rid of excess liquids.

At the bottom of the picture are small prawns.
Take off the carapace, tail and heads (discard or use for making broth).
Make a shallow incision all along the middle of their back.
Sautee them like the scallops. As soon as they changed colour, put them to rest with the scallops.

Keeping in mind you are making two servings, cut a tablespoon each of red, yellow and orange sweet pimentos in small cubes. Fry them in olive oil without any seasoning. When soft, drop them in all-purpose bowl. Do the same with a little assortment of scallops, small shrimps and cockles (can be bought easily frozen at large supermarkets), or whatever seafood you can put your hands on. Keep in mind they ought to be of all the same approximate size (that’s a lot of “keep inmind”, isn’t it?)

When all ingredients have cooled down to room temperature and this just before you are going to serve them, toss in some finely cut fresh tomatoes (if you add them too early they leave out toomuch water in contact with salt!) join the pimentos and seafood in the same bowl and mix in a rasoable amount of dressing. Take half out and mix it with the spaghetti.
Place the spaghetti in the middle.

Arrange scallops interspaced with some onion confit above the spaghetti as in the picture.
Arrange sauteed prawns below as in the picture.

Add a good quantity of “baby leaves” of your choice with rest of the veg and seafood salad and arrange on both side of the spaghetti.

Of course this is open to any kind of variations. I just hope I stimulated you into your own recipes!

Bon appetit!

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Simple Recipe: Seafood Pasta Salad

The Japan Blog List

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Last Friday, which should have been “my” weekly night out, saw a sudden change of schedule forced by the venue of cricket friends over the week-end asking me to “guide” them around Shizuoka City the next night.
To appease the Missus I offered to cook dinner as I would be back home from work before her.
She gracefully agreed provided I prepared pasta…
Like many women in Japan my (?) half is a pasta addict. I love it, but there is a limit as to how often I’m willing to repast on them.
I could have done it the easy way and prepare a “sauce” to be spread over it all, but keeping aware of the tastes of my partner in life, I opted for a dish more adapted to the increasingly hot season: Cold Seafood Pasta Salad.
You ladies ought to note the recipe below if you want to convince your men that pasta is great, or encourage them into some originality! This particularly concerns Rowena, Jesse, Melinda, Etsuko, The Leftover Queen and Taste memory Girl (take a break from those cakes, LOL).

For 2 persons:
Spaghetti (thickness to taste, but neither too thin, nor too thick): “Enough” for 2 persons
Scallops (raw): 4, each cut into 3 thin slices
Mini-tomato (as small as possible): 6, each cut into halves
Avocado: 1, cut into 12 slices lengthwise
Smoked salmon: 8 thick slices
Lemon juice ( for the salmon)
Capers: up to taste
Small leaves (luccola, etc.): one “pack”. This can be replaced by herbs or small lettuce
Boiled Crab: 1 tin. Squeeze all liquid out

For the dressing:
Fresh herbs: Basil, Italian parsley, dill. All chopped very fine. Quantity to taste.
Basil mustard (Maille, etc.): one very large tablespoon. If not available use soft mustard and increase basil amount above
White vinegar, taragon leaves flavoured if possible: one large tablespoon (can be easily rectified later). Any vinegar of your liking will actually do.
Walnut oil (very tasty, light and healthy! Hazelnut oil is great, too): as much as will be needed.
Black and green pitted olives cut in small slices: up to taste
Salt, white pepper and soft spices: to taste

Heat a large pan full of water with a large pinch of salt for the spaghetti.
While the water, and later the pasta are being taken care of, prepare the dressing.
In a large bowl drop a vey large tablespoon of basil mustard, a large tablespoon of taragon-flavoured vinegar, a little salt, pepper and soft spices (to be rectified later if needed).
Mix well with a whisker. Pour a little walnut oil and mix until smooth. Add more oil in small quantities and repeat the same operation until you have enough dressing. Drop in all the chopped herbs in and mix well. Check and rectify taste with vinegar, salt, pepper and soft spices if necessary. Keep aside.
Once the spaghetti are sufficiently cooked, drain them immediately in a sieve and run cold water over them until they have completely cooled down. Drain as much water as possible. Drop them into a large bowl with half of the dressing and the olives. Mix in well.

On two large flat plates arrange the sapghetti in the middle so as to form a “little mountain”.
Lightly dip the avocado slices into the dressing (use your fingers, it will be easier and faster!) and place them around the spaghetti so as to form a “hedge” to prevent them to spread all over the place.
Lightly dip sliced scallops in dressing and place around the avocado with one tomato half on each.
Mix in the small leaves (or greens) in dressing and place them on top of the spaghetti as to cover them.
Season the crab meat with wahtever dressing is left and place it on top of leaves.
Dip the smoked salmon slices into lemon juice, place them around so as to have their tips just under the crab. Place capers on each slice.
Serve at once and enjoy!

Tip: do everything at the last moment (when the Missus or the MOTH is having a shower back from work or enjoying aperitif). Otherwise, the dressing will “cook” the salad!