After the book signing for A Well Seasoned Life back in January we went to a very famous retaurant in Little Italy. I'd never even heard of pasta with scungilli and was thrilled to see it on their menu. The restaurant shall remain nameless, because it was horrible. A big huge pile of gloppy, thick tomato sauce so full of tomato paste the scungilli was evident in texture only. I vowed to make a dish where the scungilli could shine as it should and here it is:
This is about a pound of whole scungilli. Simmer them, covered, in about 5 or 6 cups of water and a little salt for several hours until they are very tender when pierced with a fork. Save all the liquid from the pot.
When they're tender, cut them in bite sized pieces:
Near the end, add some finely chopped parsley and a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil.
Meanwhile, boil the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water until almost tender. Drain the pasta and add it to the pot with the scungilli. Simmer a little longer until the pasta is done to your liking.
If the sauce is too liquid, I thicken it with starchy water from cooking pasta. Some people say you can use the water you just bolied your pasta in, but for a very liquid sauce like this I find the water isn't starchy enough after cooking only one batch of pasta. In restaurants they use water that many batches of pasta have cooked in, so to replicate that I boil a small handfull of pasta in a cup or so of water and let it simmer for an hour or longer until the pasta has all but disintegrated, then I press it through a sieve. A good spoonful or two of that water will nicely thicken your sauce.
The final dish was absolutely delicious.