Made by looping a slender strand of dough around two fingers, then carefully twisting the pieces into what looks like a thin rope, lorighittas take time and, ideally, multiple makers. Let the pieces dry slightly before boiling to preserve their shape, resting them on a surface heavily dusted with semolina to help prevent sticking and warping when lifted. Leave the heads on the shrimp for a deeper, sweeter seafood flavor, and finish the pasta in a combination of fresh orange juice and the juices from the cooked mussels.
- 2 1⁄4 cups plus 3 Tbsp. semolina flour, plus more as needed
- 6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, or more as needed
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (1 Tbsp.)
- 1 lb. fresh mussels
- 1 cup cup very thinly sliced spring onions or scallions, mostly light green and white parts
- 1 bay leaf
- Sea salt or kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 16 medium, head-on shrimp (about 1 lb.)
- Finely grated zest and fresh juice of 1 orange
- 5 saffron threads
- Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Make the dough: In a large bowl, add the our and 7 fluid ounces water; mix with a fork until well combined. Use your hands to gather the dough into a loose ball, then turn the ball out onto a clean work surface and knead vigorously, adding a little more our as needed, until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5–7 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
Meanwhile, cook the mussels: Set 1⁄2 cup water next to the stove. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant but not yet browned, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the water and bring to a strong simmer. Add the mussels and cover the pan. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the mussels have opened, 3–4 minutes. Remove the mussels and their juices to a bowl, and let cool slightly. (Discard any that do not open.) Reserve the mussel juices. Pick about three-quarters of the mussels from their shells and discard the shells; reserve the rest whole.
Form the lorighittas: Working with small pieces at a time, roll the dough out into long thin ropes, about 1⁄8 inch thick and 11 inches long. Pinching one end of the dough between your forefinger and thumb, wrap each piece twice around 2–3 fingers. Pinch the ends together gently to seal the loop, then grab an end of the ring with each hand. Twist each collection of strands in opposite directions so that the pieces wrap around each other and create what looks like a rope or braided ring. Transfer to a baking sheet or at board dusted liberally with semolina. Let dry slightly.
When ready to serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a large saucepan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the green onion, and the bay leaf over medium heat; season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened slightly, 1–2 minutes. Remove the onion to a small bowl and add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer; raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, turning the shrimp occasionally, until well seared all over and cooked through, 6–8 minutes total. Remove the shrimp to a plate and keep warm. To the pan, add the onion and 1⁄4 cup plus 1 tablespoon each of the orange juice and reserved mussel juices. Quickly add all of the mussels and the saffron; let cook 1 minute to heat through.
Meanwhile, salt the boiling water generously and add the lorighittas; cook until the pasta naturally oats to the top of the water, 4–5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer the lorighittas to the onion mixture. Add 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water, or more as needed to make the mixture saucy, and stir to coat the pasta. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Add the shrimp, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and more salt and black pepper to taste.
Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. Top generously with orange zest and basil leaves, and serve.