Seafood Pasta in Tomato Sauce
Pasta is like a religion to some people. The number of food shows, magazines articles, and stories about pasta is out of control. And I get it - who doesn’t like carbs? Why wouldn’t you want a bowl of noodles? You may have noticed from my posts that my flavors lean towards bolder cuisines like Indian, Thai, or Mexican but once in a while, I too want a bowl of pasta. There are complicated pastas but I love the really simple ones, like this seafood pasta, that come together so quickly. This recipe is inspired by one in my favorite food magazine, Bon Appetit. I love most thing Andy Baraghani creates for the magazine and this one did not disappoint.
Mussels may seem intimidating but trust me, they are easier to handle than any other seafood; if you’re comfortable cooking shrimp and fish, mussels are insanely easy. You just clean them up a little bit, if that’s needed, and then toss them in the pot for 5 mins for them to open up their shell. That’s it. You can also use clams in this recipe - they have a similar flavor and they cook in the same way.
10-12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 lb mussels, washed and beards removed (*Note below)
4-5 oz dry pasta
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 large white onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 15 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
2-3 anchovy fillets
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp chili flakes (or more, if you want more spice)
1/2 cup white wine
3 cloves garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
parsley or basil to garnish
Heat a 4-5 quart pot on medium heat. Add the anchovies, olive oil, and onions; cook for 8-10 mins on medium heat. The onions should be translucent and just starting to brown.
Add the tomato paste and chili flakes and cook for 3-4 mins, stirring regularly to ensure the tomato paste does not burn or stick to the pot.
Then add the white wine, stir well, and cook for 5 mins or until the alcohol has burned off. Now add the canned tomatoes along with all of the juice and mix well. Break up the tomatoes a bit with your spatula. Cover the pot with a lid, lower the heat a little, and cook for 15 mins.
After 15 mins, remove the lid and add in your shrimp and mussels. Spread them out in the pot. Cover the lid and cook for 5-6 mins. When you open the pot, all the mussels should have opened up; discard any that are still closed. Now, remove the shrimp and mussels into a separate bowl and set aside.
While the seafood cooks, make your pasta. Bring a pot of water to boil and salt generously. Add the pasta to the water and cook two-thirds of the way through (if the box says 9 mins, cook for 6). Take the paste directly from the boiling water (don’t drain, just pick them up with tongs) and place them in the pot with the tomato sauce. Take 1/2 cup of the pasta water and add that to the tomato sauce pot. Stir everything well and cook cook uncovered for 3 mins.
Lastly, add the seafood back in and toss well. Let cook for 3 mins.
Turn off the heat and finish with lemon juice and parsley or basil. Serve!
*Note: Most mussels at the grocery store are cleaned and ready to go. But sometimes, you may come across some with a “beard”, or some stringy stuff that looks like seaweed. It’s coarse and unpleasant, so if any of your mussels have a beard, pull at it and it should come off (please remember it’s only okay to pull mussel beards, not human beards). It you miss some, it’s not a big deal - mussel or clam beards are not dangerous to eat in anyway.