help with a recipe.. Seafood pasta

Joined Dec 20, 2008
Yo all, haven't been on in a while, sort of busy. I would appreciate some help with the below recipe, especially from the Pros, while the source of the recipe gives it 5 stars, there were many complaints about lacking flavor and too much of a wine taste, possibly due to inexperienced technique. It is for a special valentines meal.

Thoughts, would sauteing the shrimp and scallops in a little butter and garlic, fresh herbs, scampi style then add to recipe at end be better?
Also suggested was using extra clam meat and juice from canned clams, any thoughts. I would resort to canned clam meat if I couldn't find extra clam meat at the fresh seafood counter ala Whole Foods..


* 1 pound linguine pasta
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 3 shallots, chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 3/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes **SEE NOTE
* 1 1/2 cup Pinot Grigio (or other white wine)
* 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 2 pounds clams, washed
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 cups arugula


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and the garlic and cook for 3 minutes, until tender but not brown. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for another minute. Add the wine, shrimp, and clams. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the shrimp are pink and the clams have opened, about 7 minutes.

Add the spaghetti to the seafood mixture. Add the salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the arugula. Stir gently and place on a serving platter. Serve immediately.

** substitute drained can crushed tomatoes
Add scallops
Add -red pepper flakes
Add -season with some Old Bay if taste is weak
Garnish with fresh chop Parsley and fresh Parmesan
Joined Feb 1, 2007
I can see where it might be too winey. That's the over-riding flavor component in that list. I'd cut back on it for sure.

Seems to me, too, that the shrimp would be overcooked. I mean 7 minutes? And overcooked shrimp, in addition to being tough, tends to be tasteless as well.

Other than that, with all that seafood, plus the garlic, shallots, salt and pepper, there should (in theory) be a lot of flavor. I can't imagine why their wasn't.
Joined Oct 2, 2010
This looks like an overcomplicated version of spaghetti Vongole. Five star recipe, yeah... right.

I would choose between either scampi or clams, not both. When you can get fresh clams in their shells, go for these. If they aren't fresh, go for fresh mussels instead! Otherwise choose scampi. Clams in a jar are probably already processed(?), so that's a big no.

Fresh clams or mussels;

Wash them and let soak in fresh water for 30 minutes. Take them out of the water and get rid of shells that don't close when you tap on them.

Peel, deseed and cut a tomato in nice cubes (canned tomatoes are OK too, just cut them). Chop parcely, not too finely. Chop garlic. A pinch of chilli flakes. White wine. Lemonjuice and lemonzeste. Those are the other ingredients.

Put some olive oil in a pan on high heat (I use a wokpan for this). Add garlic, parcely, chilli flakes, tomatocubes and a good dash of white wine; 1/2 cup, not 1 1/2 like in your recipe. Immediately add the clams or mussels. Cover. Cooking time is no longer than 5-8 minutes. Stir or preferably toss a few times while cooking, until all the clams or mussels are opened. Get rid of unopened ones! You can take out most of the meat from the shells and keep only a few in their shells for presentation.

Serve on spaghetti, sprinkle with some extra parcely, lemonjuice and zeste.


Peel and deveine. Keep the peels. Fry them in a little olive oil untill they turn red. Add a dash of white wine, 1/4 teaspoon of tomato puree, 1/2 chopped shallot, clove of garlic, pinch of chilli flakes or cayennepepper and a cup of chickenstock. Let reduce to 1/2 and sieve.

Put another pan on with some olive oil, quickly fry the scampi no longer than 10 seconds on each side; don't move them around all the time, lay them in the pan one by one and don't touch again, turn, s&p. Remove them from the pan!! Add the cooking liquid from the scampi peels. Add liquid cream and let thicken a bit. Add scampi but don't cook any longer!

Serve on pasta. I like ribbonpasta with this; tagliatelle or pappardelle. Sprinkle with a little lemonjuice and chopped parcely.

BTW, dump the arugula in both recipes!  
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Joined Aug 13, 2006
I don't see the boiling everything together and how it can get a good flavor. 

I usually cook fish sauce in two or three stages - i think it gives a far better flavor. 

Also never never never drain the pasta and just leave it.  The sauce should be ready before the pasta is drained so it can be immediately mixed with the sauce.  It will get sticky and yucky if you leave it without sauce, and if you mix it with oil you'll just make it so the sauce won't stick.  And it will be cold anyway! 

Here the shrimp are usually left in their shells and you are left to clean them in your dish.  I don't much like it because i never figured out a graceful way of shelling them and end up with both hands in my pasta sauce and my clothes completely sprayed.  But i will admit it does have a certain appeal to see the whole shrimp with its little feet and all. 

It's not at all unusual to have a mixture of fish in a pasta dish - spaghetti alla pescatora.  But you can choose any single one of the fish below and probably others too.

Finally, there is no reason it has to have tomato (i do prefer it, but it's not easy to get seafood pasta with tomato here, they usually do it without, and if there is tomato, it's very little of it.  In any case, dried tomatoes are way too overpowering for seafood.  And if you insist on using them, you should soak them a lot in hot water to soften them and get rid of the salty taste. 

Here's the procedure i'd use. 

Put some oil in a pan.   Heat it and then add a bit of smashed garlic and a few flakes of hot pepper if you want it, plus the bivalves - clams, mussels...  Then cook at medium high heat till all of them open (or a couple don't, which means they were dead and you have to discard them).  Dump this all into a strainer set over a bowl to catch the liqueur and the oil. 

Put more oil in pan (you just need to film the bottom)

Again, a little garlic and hot pepper and the other non bivalve fish (shrimp, calamari, etc) and cook over medium high heat till opaque.  Dump them also into the strainer and catch the juice. 

Reduce the juice in the bowl under the strainer  in  a pot, adding the wine (definitely not a cup and a half! - maybe half a cup) and let it reduce significantly so it's a bit syrupy.  [If you want to make the pasta without tomato, then you'll want to first sautee a few cloves of garlic in the pan with a bit more oil, which carries the flavor, some hot pepper, and then add the wine and reduce to syrup, then add the liqueur of the fish and cook it down till you have a tasty sauce, not too watery but enough to flavor the pasta.  With tomato you can reduce it further - see below.]  

For sauce with the tomato:

Again a little more oil than before and this time  add a few cloves of garlic, some salt and some more pepper flakes, let them cook very slowly till soft BUT NOT BROWN and add tomatoes  - and raise the heat and cook rapidly for a couple of minutes. 

Add the reduced wine/liqueur and cook a few minutes (not too long - the tomato should taste fresh, not like a ragu!) .

Shut the heat and now put the pasta on to cook (you already have the water boiled, and make sure to use a lot of water and a fistful of salt - most of the salt will remain in the water, so don't wiorry)

Two minutes before the pasta is cooked, put the fish into the sauce and let it cook these couple of minutes, to flavor the sauce and to let the sauce flavor the fish. 

Drain the pasta and dump the sauce immediately on it (i drain it and put it back in its pot where there's plenty of room to mix).,  Mix it well so it;s all coated. 

Serve immediately with the parsley chopped on top (not cooked - that changes its flavor)

Note that the tomato is light, not thick, it's mainly the reduced liqueur and wine with some tomato flavoring.

Try this and tell me how it is. 

It is not as hard as it looks. 
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
I agree with Siduri, I don't leave pasta draining, I try to time it so that it comes straight from the boiling pot into the sauce pan, with a little of the boiling liquid along.

First of all, start by searing your scallops and shrimp (seperately) in the pan you will be using for the sauce.  Make sure they're cooked the way you like them to, well seared on the outside but just cooked through on the inside.  Set aside.  In the same pan soften the onion and garlic along with the pepper flakes in plenty of olive oil.  Then add the vermouth and let the alcohol cook off.  Add your tomatoes if you think it's necessary but this will be wonderful without them too.  You could also use a tsp of tomato paste instead when you're softening the onions.  Put the clams in and cover until they barely opened.  Take each one out as it opens and set aside.

At this time your pasta is boiling away and ready.  Stir in a tbsp of butter into the sauce until it melts and season to taste.  Don't drain the pasta, just transfer from the boiling pot directly into the pasta sauce, you will be bringing just enough boiling water along with it to assist the sauce.  Toss the shrimp and scallops back in and toss in the arugula and herbs off the heat.  A squeeze of lemon may brighten the dish up.  Serve the clams on top.

You do not need any clam juice, the clams have plenty.  Old Bay has nothing to do with this, save it for another day and another dish. 
Joined Oct 2, 2010
Girls, you're both right about getting your pasta stand-by, by the time your sauce is done.

When there's a little delay on the sauce, I also take the pot from the heat, leave the pasta in the cooking water, but I always add some cold water to get the temperature immediately under the boiling point. This way the pasta doesn't cook further.

@Deltadude; Italian cooking is mainly based on 3 principles; get the best fresh ingredients, use not too many ingredients. So far the easy part. Number three is more tricky; cook these few ingredients to absolute perfection. Few ingredients need to be cooked beyond exceptional. This means also you need to salt your pasta cooking water to perfection, cook the pasta al dente (taste several times when cooking!), you also need to cook the shellfish to perfection and season accordingly with a nice acidity,... as you may have noticed, it's all about tasting, tasting, tasting. Easy dishes like these are much more tricky to make than people think.
Joined Apr 3, 2010
7 minutes cooking or boiling shrimp and scallops= rubber. Try sauteing seafood in seperate pan and take out then add back at the end after sauce has cooked add the drippings from the pan you cooked seafood in. I agree drain pasta and sauce tossed with it right away better then letting pasta sit and get nasty.  Also if your talking dry sun dried you must get them softened first, better yet use fresh italian tomatoes seeded, peeled and diced (filet d 'pomodoro)not as overpowering as sundried.
Joined Dec 20, 2008
Thanks all for the replies, Siduri I said it before I always agree with your food sensibility and technique. Your description of shrimp in shell not appealing to eat but great to look at is exactly how I feel. I have made several variations of this dish but it has been some time. One variation I call Seafood Pasta Primavera, similar ingredients but with the addition of fresh season veggies (broccoli, asparagus, peas, carrots, onions, peppers, etc). I steam the clams, shrimp shells, small piece of fish, with a little wine, water. Separately, I am either steaming veggies until al dente, or pan stir frying, the steam clam broth is reduced with wine, butter, seasoning and herbs, cream added to reduced thicken until creamy texture shrimps, clams, and whatever seafood added back in at end, cooked pasta placed on deep platter creamy sauce with seafood poured over, fresh veggies added and arranged as well as the clams and shrimps arranged. The dish usually looks really good on the table. Timing is the difficult part because so many items are cooked separately. So this time I am skipping the veggies, and cream sauce and going for something a little lighter.

Again each of you thanks for the input, I got some good ideas and will incorporate them and get back on how all worked out.
Joined Dec 7, 2010
Thoughts, would sauteing the shrimp and scallops in a little butter and garlic, fresh herbs, scampi style then add to recipe at end be better?
That would make sense, or just cook the them quickly, one minute per side shrimp and just a quick sear on the scallops, then set aside and continue with the recipe in that pan.  When ready so serve add them back for a minute or two to bring the temp up.  

 If you follow the recipe I would add the shrimp and scallops last.  Its common for clams or mussels to be steamed with raw wine like that, but I've never poached shrimp or scallops in wine.  Usually sear and and then deglaze.  With your recipe I would use a large enough diameter pan so I could watch how the shrimp and scallops are doing.  Start with shallots, I dont like to boil them in a lot of oil.  A little oil, medium heat, so they can cook and not burn on the edges, sometimes not so easy to do in a large pan,  add sun dried tomato, then garlic, then wine and clams.  When the clams start to open add the shrimp and scallops.  Leave it uncovered to cook the wine down a bit, depending on the amount of liquid you have in the pan and how well the shrimp and scallops are cooking, you may need to pull out the clams and cover the pot again.  Add the arugula last thing.  

1.5 cups wine and 1/4 cup olive oil and whatever liquid comes from the clams is all the liquid you have for sauce.  So I might be messing up the recipe by using less oil to saute the shallots, you could add the rest after you add the sun dried tomato, or even later as the shrimp are almost cooked. If you cook the wine down too much there wont be any sauce and if you dont cook it uncovered at all might too raw or "winey" as some complained. How much sauce do you need for a pound of linguine? 

I can see sun dried tomato added to a shrimp scampi dish, but I'm not sure about the clams. Adding arugula would be a flavor combo new to me also.  Let us know how it works. 
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