With a boat load of seafood, a light herby sauce, and a kick of heat, this ocean forward seafood pasta dish might just be on repeat all summer.
Hello Summer! And hello summer dishes. I don’t know about you, but my seafood consumption increases drastically when it hits the warmer months. This seafood pasta combines three of my loves, a copious amount of seafood, carbs, and a kick of heat. There is no reason to not make a restaurant quality seafood dish at home, so if you were thinking about making something a little over the top, this is the dish that will please any seafood lover.
SEAFOOD; VARIETY, CLEANING, COOK TIME
Repeat after me… I will not overcook my seafood. There is nothing worse than putting the time into a dish for it to only be ruined by overcooked chewy seafood. In order to get it right this recipe does require a little extra love and labor to nail the timing. Surprise! Not all seafood cooks the same. While I used shrimp, squid, scallops, and clams, there are other seafood you can add or swap. Below are some options as well as when to cook them to ensure they are done perfectly.
Small shrimp is recommended for this dish, however avoid the super small key west shrimp, those cook fast and aren’t forgiving. Frozen is a great option, just make sure they are completely defrosted and patted dry before cooking.
Prep +Cleaning: Devein and de-shell before cooking. Bonus points if you remove the tail prior to placing them in the pan.
Cook Time: Cook shrimp in the beginning with squid (if you are opting to add). Cook halfway, small shrimp will take 4-5 minutes until completely done.
I can’t recommend enough to get tubes and tentacles. If the tentacles aren’t your thing I totally understand… little legs. I always buy my squid fresh from Whole Foods, but frozen works too!
Prep + Cleaning – If you buy them frozen or from a reputable fish market they should be pre-cleaned. I highly recommend you get them pre-cleaned. I used to buy full squids in Chinatown and had to clean them myself. It’s not a pain just tedious. Pat dry before cooking.
Cook Time – Squid takes almost no time. My recommendation throw the shrimp in, cook it for a minute then finish it off with the squid for an additional 1-2 minutes. Squid needs to only be cooked halfway.
Scallops add a lovely sweet bite to this dish. I usually buy frozen scallops because let’s be honest for this dish its not worth $30+ a lb. If this was a scallop only dish I would say splurge, but this is just an accent to the dish not the main star.
Prep + Cleaning: There shouldn’t be a lot of prep here just make sure they are patted dry.
Cook Time: I am going to be real annoying here. I actually cook my scallops on the side in a frying pan. 1 to avoid sticking, and 2 because they cook for such a short time I don’t like adding them to the shrimp and squid. When cooking them for this dish only cook them halfway in the beginning. Small scallops need about 2 minutes on each side in a really hot pan to be fully cooked through. If you are opting for the baby baby scallops you are going to toss them in at the end.
This dish doesn’t need many but clams adds a great flavor once they open and release juices into the sauce.
Prep +Cleaning: Clams have a tendency to hold sand, which doesn’t make for a lovely eating experience. To get rid of sand, soak the clams first in salt water for 20 minutes, then rinse, and clean the outside shell.
Cook Time: This all depends on how large your clams are. Small to medium clams will take from 7-10 minutes to fully open. Try and not open the lid to check. Any clams that have not opened in that amount of time, toss.
Although they weren’t added to this recipe mussels are an excellent add/sub.
Prep +Cleaning: For cleaning and prep check out my Moules Frites post for detailed info.
Cook Time: Add at the same time you would add clams.
While I think its a waste to add lobster meat to this dish because frankly it will get lost in the mix, it is an option.
Cook Time: Add chopped uncooked lobster meat at the same time you would add squid. Add pre-cooked lobster meat at the end.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE SEAFOOD PASTA
Pasta + Pasta Water– Players choice, but this dish calls for a long noodle. I like to use spaghetti, good spaghetti, but feel free to swap out for linguini.
Raw Seafood – See above passage.
Garlic – Fresh only!
Calabrian Chili – One of my favorite ingredients to sneak in when looking to add heat to a dish. If you aren’t familiar, Calabrian chilis are a medium-hot Italian chili that is often turned into a flavorful paste or sold whole. This chili adds so much more than heat, it brings a slightly smokey, salty, and BEYOND flavorful punch to any dish. This Italian condiment has gained more popularity over the past 2 years so you might be able to find it at your local supermarket. Two of my favorites are DeLallo and Trader Joes Italian Bomba Hot Pepper Sauce. Can’t get either of these? Check out a great Amazon option HERE.
White Wine– Good rule of thumb cook with a wine you would drink, just make sure its a dry white for this recipe.
Parsley– Fresh only!
Wide Pot/Pan – If you have a braiser or Dutch oven take it out. This dish needs a pan that has a bit of depth to hold all the seafood and pasta at the end. A wide sauté pan is also a great option.
STEP BY STEP SEAFOOD PASTA
It might feel annoying to cook seafood and then take it out and then cook some more and take it out, but if you are looking for perfectly cooked seafood in this pasta it is going to require a little work. This recipe is no way difficult, but reading and following the directions are important to get that creamy pasta water sauce. If you haven’t already read the above passage on cooking seafood, go ahead and read it. The below step by step is for scallops, squid, shrimp, and clams, with notes for subs or adds.
Cook the Pasta – Before cooking the seafood start boiling the water for the pasta. You are going to need the pasta water midway through. Cook the pasta as per packaging in salty water pulling it out 3-4 minutes before done. It is SO important you pull it out before it’s even al dente. The pasta will continue to cook once you add it to the pan later. Reserve 1 – 1 1/2 cups of pasta water.
Cook the Seafood – Cook the scallops in a separate frying pan. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a small frying pan over medium heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes each side and remove from the heat. In a large deep pan add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the cleaned shrimp and squid. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and remove from the pan. You may notice that the squid and shrimp released a lot of moisture, that is okay.
Start the Sauce – Add 2 tbsp of butter to the pan. Once melted add the minced garlic and cook on low-medium heat for 2 minutes. Add in the Calabrian chili paste and cook for another minute. Deglaze with white wine and 1/3 cup of pasta water. Add the clams (and potentially mussels), and put a lid on the pan. Let the clams steam until they are fully open.
Add the Pasta + Seafood– Add the undercooked pasta, another 1/3 cup of pasta water, and the par cooked seafood, and parsley. Give it a thorough toss. Cook on low, continuously tossing the pasta allowing it to finish cooking in the wine/pasta water. As the pasta continues to cook it will release more starch and thicken the sauce. Here is where you have to use intuition. As the pasta cooks, you may notice that it has absorbed too much of the sauce. If that is the case add some more pasta water a few tbsp at a time and continue to mix. This process should take about 3-4 minutes. Careful to not overcook the pasta. The finished product will be silky, not watery. At the last minute throw in another tbsp of butter. If it is still watery continue cooking the pasta to thicken it up.
*Always check on the doneness of the seafood before serving.
There is no reheating seafood pasta. Eat it.
Looking for more seafood? Check out the recipes below!
With a light herby sauce, a hick of heat, and a copious amount of seafood this seafood pasta will be on repeat all summer long.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Keyword Pasta, Seafood, Spicy
Prep Time 10 minutesmins
Cook Time 25 minutesmins
Total Time 35 minutesmins
1/2lbpasta1 cup of pasta water saved
3tbspbutterseparated 2 and 1 tbsp
1/4lbshrimpdeveined, de-shelled, de-tailed
1/2lbsquid (tubes and tentacles)tubes sliced
9clamssand removed, cleaned
1tbspCalabrian chili paste
1/2cupdry white wine
Start cooking the pasta before any of the seafood, you will need the pasta water once the seafood is done cooking. Cook the pasta as per packaging in salty water. REMOVE 3-4 minutes before al dente. Reserve 1 – 1 1/2 cups of pasta water.
In a separate frying pan add 2 tbsp of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Cook the scallops for 1 minute on each side and remove from the pan. Save on the side for later.
In a large deep pan over low-medium heat add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Once heated add in the shrimp and cook for 1 minute, throw in the squid and cook the seafood to the halfway point. approx. 2 minutes of cooking. *If your shrimp are on the smaller end you can cook the shrimp and squid at the same time without the extra minute. Remove seafood from the pan.
Add 2 tbsp of butter, once melted add in your minced garlic. Cook for 2 minutes on low. The garlic should be soft and fragrant not brown. Add in the Calabrian chilis and cook for an additional minute.
Deglaze the pan with the wine and 1/3 cup of pasta water. Add in the clams and cover. Cook until the clams start to open up (depending on the size this could take 6-10 minutes). Discard any that do not open.
Toss in the undercooked pasta, half cooked seafood, parsley, and another 1/3 cup of pasta water. Cook on low, continuously tossing the pasta allowing it to finish cooking in the wine/pasta water. As the pasta continues to cook it will release more starch and thicken the sauce. This should take about 3-4 minutes, but if you are noticing that the pasta has absorbed the majority of the sauce add in more pasta water a few tbsp at a time.
At the last minute throw in another tbsp of butter. The finished product will be silky, not watery. Always check on the doneness of the seafood before consuming. Serve immediately.