Big Night's opening sequence is a memorial to all Italian restaurateurs who came to America with the intention of creating a restaurant dedicated to their own food only to be forced to serve spaghetti and meatballs. When Tucci's Secondo prepares a creamy stew of arborio rice with fish and fresh sliced parsley, his disgruntled customer requests rice and a side of spaghetti. Tensions rise, but the client always has the final say. Tucci continues to buy seafood in London, where he lives, and where he can obtain excellent oysters and langoustines.
LIST OF INGREDIENTS
2 LB. of mussels, cleaned
2 LB. of clams, cleaned
1 LB. of shrimp tails
14 OZ. of baby octopus, cleaned
12 OZ. of squid, cleaned
9 OZ. of cuttlefish, cleaned
2 of Zucchini
Extravirgin olive oil
Shell the shrimp tails and place the shells in a pot of water with one peeled onion, one carrot, 2 chopped celery stalks and a spot of white wine. Simmer for 40 minutes: This will be your seafood broth. Clean and chop one leek, and trim and slice the zucchini. Fry the leek in a saucepan with a drizzle of oil; add the zucchini, season with salt, and cook a further 10 minutes.
Cut the octopus, squid, and cuttlefish into strips, then add to the pan with the leek and zucchini; douse in 1/2 cup wine and cook a further 15 minutes, stirring. Season to taste. Heat the mussels and clams in separate pans, each with a drizzle of oil, a clove of garlic, and a pinch of chili pepper, for 2-3 minutes until they open. Separate from their shells and set aside both shells and meat, then filter both cooking liquids.
Combine the cooking liquids (use more clam than mussel) with the filtered seafood broth for a total of 6 cups liquid, then add a little water if necessary. Toast the rice in the pan with the mollusks, add the mussels and clams, and cook for 18 minutes, gradually adding broth a little at a time. Add the shrimp tails 2 minutes before the end of cooking. Finally, add back in the reserved mussels and clams, then season with pepper and some chopped parsley.