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Seafood Spaghetti

This pasta can be made with just one or two varieties of seafood, by increasing their amounts accordingly. Italians never serve grated cheese with seafood pastas. If you like, toasted bread crumbs would make a delicious crunchy garnish. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Manila or other small clams or cockles, scrubbed 
  • 1 lb. mussels, scrubbed and debearded 
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes 
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, stemmed and halved 
  • 1/2 lb. cleaned squid, bodies cut into rings 1/2 inch wide and tentacles halved through the base 
  • 12 shrimp, peeled and deveined 
  • Sea salt, to taste, plus 2 Tbs.
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 
  • 1 lb. spaghetti or linguine  
  • 2 Tbs. torn fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 

Directions:

Place the clams and mussels in a large pot, discarding any that do not close to the touch. Add the water, place over medium heat, cover and cook until the shells open, 3 to 5 minutes. Lift out the clams and mussels with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl, discarding any that fail to open.

Pour the liquid from the pot into a separate bowl. Remove the clams and mussels from their shells, discard the shells and place in a clean bowl. If they seem sandy, rinse them in their cooking liquid. Strain the liquid through a paper coffee filter or a fine-mesh sieve lined with dampened cheesecloth into the bowl with the clams and mussels and set aside.

In a large fry pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until they begin to collapse and release their juices, about 5 minutes. Stir in the squid and shrimp and season with salt. Pour in the wine and simmer until the squid and shrimp are nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the clams and mussels and their liquid and cook for 5 minutes more to heat through and blend the flavors.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a rolling boil and add the 2 Tbs. salt. Add the spaghetti, stir well and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, according to the package instructions. Scoop out and reserve about 2 ladlefuls of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Add the drained pasta to the sauce in the pan and stir and toss over low heat until well coated with the sauce, adjusting the consistency with some of the cooking water as needed. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007).