Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spaghetti with Shrimp, Clams and Scallops

A while back I posted about our local Northwest Seafood Market, and last weekend I sought out their fresh clams and shrimp for a special birthday dinner. This recipe is from a lovely, lush cookbook called The Food of Italy, and just looking through it makes you want to rush into the kitchen and start cooking. The book's picture of this dish inspired my friend to comment how delicious and Italian it looked, so it seemed like destiny that she should have it for her birthday dinner!

And so her mother and I had great fun cooking this delectable dish. We made adjustments to the original because we both prefer a generous amount of sauce to a more spartan amount of pasta. As well, we omitted the squid tubes and baby octopus, and upped the quantity of other seafood.

For such an innocent-looking dish, it packs a lot of flavor from the saffron, garlic, and seafood. It's definitely a keeper, and quite suitable for special-occasion dinners!

This amount will serve about 12 people, but the recipe is easily halved.
Adapted from The Food of Italy

2 cups dry white wine
2 generous pinches of saffron threads

4 pounds clams
2 pounds shrimp, shelled and cleaned
1 pound scallops, cleaned

1-1/2 pounds dry spaghetti

5 tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped
1 28-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 14-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 cup chopped parsley

Lemon wedges to serve

Put the wine and saffron in a bowl and allow to steep.

Clean clams, scrubbing if necessary. Rinse well and discard any that are broken or open and don't close when tapped on counter. Place clams in large pot with 1-1/2 cups water. Cover and turn heat to high, cooking for 2-3 minutes or until all clams open. Remove clams from liquid, and reserve liquid. Remove clams from shells, discarding any that don't open, and set clam meat aside.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water, timing it to be done when you are ready to mix it with the finished tomato/seafood mixture.

Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven (we used a 12-quart one) and add garlic and both cans of tomatoes, and cook, stirring, for a minute or so. Pour in the saffron-infused wine and the reserved clam liquid. (We only used about a half cup of the clam liquid, but that was just us.) Simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Add the shrimp and cook until all shrimp begin to turn pink, then add the clam meat and scallops, cooking and stirring occasionally until shrimp are thoroughly pink and scallops are opaque.

Stir in the parsley, and add the drained, cooked pasta and gently mix well. Turn out onto very large platter or into a large serving bowl. We dusted the top with grated Parmesan cheese, and very pretty it was. Garnish with lemon wedges or serve them separately.

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