Serves 4 to 6
While most of our summer was spent near Firenze, we did venture to the Mediterranean coast for a few brief visits. The Tuscan ristorantes often featured a mixed seafood dish that I adored with shellfish such as clams, mussels, cuttlefish, and squid. I created my own version using easily found seafood that didn’t break my budget. The ratio of the shellfish in the recipe is based on my preference, what’s fresh and on sale!
Play around with the quantities to feature your own favorites!
2 lb. clams (I prefer the small Manila clams to Littlenecks
if I can find them, as they remind me of those I had in Italy)
1 lb. black mussels
1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail on
2 5-oz. cans of chopped clams, drained
1 lb. dried linguine
About 1 1/2 cups dry white wine, divided
4 large cloves garlic, 2 crushed and 2 minced
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
2 tablespoons butter
Scrub the fresh clams and then soak them in cold water in the refrigerator for one hour.
Scrub and de-beard the mussels.
Using a large, deep Dutch oven or similar pan, add 1/2 cup of wine to the pan and place over medium heat. Add 2 crushed cloves of garlic and the mussels. Cover and cook the mussels, shaking the pan occasionally, until the shells open (about 8 to 10 minutes). Remove the mussels from the pan with a tongs or slotted spoon, pouring the trapped liquid from the mussels back into the pan. Place the mussels in a large bowl, throwing away any that failed to open, and set aside.
Fill a large pasta pot with water (3/4 full) and bring to a boil. Add the salt after the water boils.
Meanwhile, drain the fresh clams and add them and another 1/2 cup of wine to the pan used to cook the mussels. Cover and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the shells open (about 8 to 10 minutes for Littleneck clams or about 5 minutes for Manila clams). Remove the clams from the pan with a tongs or slotted spoon, pouring the trapped liquid from the clams back into the pan. Place the clams into the bowl holding the mussels, throwing away any that failed to open, and set aside.
Remove and discard the crushed garlic from the pan used to cook the shellfish. Pour the remaining cooking fluid into a 2-cup glass measuring cup, add enough wine to make 1 cup of liquid, and set aside. (If I have wine left over from the 1 1/2 cups called for in the recipe, I pour the remainder into a wine glass, add enough wine to make a decent pour, and drink it!)
Warm the olive oil, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, and canned clams over medium heat in the pan used to cook the mussels and clams. When you start to smell the garlic, add the shrimp (in a single layer if possible) to the pan. If you cannot fit the shrimp into one layer, stir them occasionally so that they all cook evenly. Cook the shrimp just until they start to curl and turn pink, flipping once, about 3 to 4 minutes total.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and stir to prevent it from sticking. Cook the linguine to al dente, about 7 to 9 minutes. As soon as you start cooking the pasta, add the reserved mussels, clams, any juices that accumulated in their bowl, and the 1 cup of wine liquid to the pan with the shrimp. Lower the heat under the shellfish pan to low, gently stir, and cover.
When the pasta is al dente, drain it, and transfer it to a large warmed serving bowl. Stir the 2 tablespoons of butter into the pasta (it helps prevent the pasta from absorbing too much of the sauce). Note: if you do not have one bowl large enough to hold both the shellfish and pasta, use 2 serving bowls. Pour the shellfish and sauce over the pasta and mix well.
Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley over the top of the seafood pasta as a garnish. Serve immediately, and no, you do not offer grated cheese with this dish.