It happened one day. One cold, gray Saturday in January. The journey, from Slovenia to Venice, driven by the thought of lunch on the Grand Canal. The rest is a dreamlike blur… See sign for the Italian border. Forget Venice, too far away. Take first exit, Trieste. Happen upon Menarosti, Antico Ristorante dal 1903. Enter an unassuming doorway to find tables full of Italians eating, talking, and laughing. In the back room, nonna, shelling crabs by hand. Mother and daughter, keeping watch over the dining room, with son in the kitchen. After a brief conversation about all that came in from the lagoon that morning, eight delicious courses: various fish, shrimp, clams, scallops. Fried, raw, baked, with pasta. And local Friulano wine. A thought occurs: karma. There will surely be payback for my good fortune. But that worry will keep for another day. Or at least, until after espresso.
My friends at Menarosti have been kind enough to send me their recipe, which I adapted below. I doubt you can get your scallops fresh from the Istrian lagoon, and I doubt your strangozzi will come from Umbria, but this will get you close enough to share the dream. You can deal with karma later.
In a large skillet over medium heat sauté the shallots in 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent. Add the wine, tomatoes, 1 thyme sprig, salt and pepper to taste.
In another pan over medium heat, quickly brown the scallops in 1 tablespoon olive oil with the remaining thyme sprig. Add the brandy.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the fish stock to the tomatoes and cook on high heat for 10 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and add as desired.
Cook the strangozzi until al dente (about 2 minutes less than the package directions), drain and add to the tomato sauce. Add the scallops. Toss with the parsley.