The Italians have wisely distilled three millenia of civilization down into two basic tenets: 1) trust no one, and 2) eat locally. Or put another way, who needs a government as long as the food is good? Ironically, their food is so good precisely because they trust no one. They want to know the who, what, how, where, and why about what they eat.
Americans have adopted the opposite approach: trust everyone and eat anything. This has resulted in big food companies and a complicit FDA, which have kindly provided us with the following: preservatives, pesticides, hormones, and my new personal favorite, genetically modified foods. (With friends like this, who needs enemies?)
Obviously, I favor the Italian approach to food. Trust no one; eat local. I’m in New Orleans today, and so we’re eating fresh, local crawfish (crayfish), which are in season. Louisiana produces and consumes almost all of the U.S. supply of these tiny, fresh water crustaceans, meaning that frozen crawfish found in stores outside of Louisiana are generally Chinese imports. Trust that!
In Italy, crawfish can be found in mountain streams and rivers, but are not widely popular. They are often mistakenly referred to as aragosta (lobster) or shrimp (gambero), but they are correctly called any one of the following: gambero di fiume, gambero d’acqua dolce, gambero turco, or gambero di Galizia.
Because there are hundreds of crawfish species around the world, I doubt that you’ll find these “red swamp crawfish” at your local market, so find a fresh local substitute. That said, and I’ll admit it, the pasta was imported from Naples and the olive oil from Tuscany… some foods have no local substitutions!
p.s. Check out our wine pairings to complement this dish.