June 19, 2016
Dinner, Lunch, Main Dish,
Shellfish, Pasta, Bucatini, Vegetables, Spinach, Italian, North American, Birthday, Entertaining, Father's Day, Ladies Luncheon, Mother's Day, Romantic Dinner, Sunday Dinner, Stove Top, Wine more
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"One of my favorite seafood pasta dishes. It really isn't difficult to prepare; and, doesn't take much time either. It's full of flavor; but, fresh ingredients are key. Fresh herbs, lemon and pasta are really key. Now, I know shrimp is often cheaper frozen; and, that is fine. But, getting fresh clams and mussels are a must. I love to serve this with a grilled baguette; rubbed with a fresh tomato and garlic (see below)."
Seafood ... First, keep the seafood in the refrigerator in a colander, so they do NOT sit in water. This is especially true if using frozen shrimp. You want them to thaw in the refrigerator, in a colander, covered.
Now, you don't want to cook with cold seafood; so, set your seafood on the counter to take the chill off. Usually mussels and clams are well cleaned at the market; but, I do rinse them in a bowl of water just to be sure. Also; your shrimp should be shelled, deveined; and, tails removed.
Note, if any mussels or clams are open, tap them with a knife or spoon - they should close. If they don't, they are dead - or 'bad.' You don't want to cook these.
Pasta ... Cook the pasta according to package directions, in plenty of salted water. Once done; drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. If you keep just a couple of tablespoons of water in the pot; the pasta will not become sticky. Cover, and set to the side.
Vegetables ... As the pasta cooks, start your base. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a deep saute pan; and, bring to medium high heat. Add the onions, fennel, red pepper flakes; and saute until everything is combined (about 2 minutes). Make sure they do not brown or burn. Then, add the garlic and anchovy paste; and, cook just another couple of minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper, only if needed.
Sauce ... Add wine, clam juice, and broth; and, bring to medium high heat - just under a boil. Reduce to medium-medium low heat; and simmer 4-5 minutes.
Seafood ... Increase the heat to medium; then, add the mussels and clams; mix until everything is combined; then. top with the shrimp - but, do NOT mix those in. Cover and cook 5-8 minutes; just until the shrimp turn pink; and the mussels and clams open up. Depending on the type of pan you used; the time can vary. But, once the shells open; the seafood is done.
Important, if any clams or mussels do NOT open; throw them out. They are bad.
Finish ... Add pasta, spinach, and artichokes to the seafood; along with the lemon zest, juice, and herbs - then, toss. Cook just a minute until the pasta has soaked up some of the sauce; and, the spinach has lightly wilted. If the sauce seems a bit dry; add a bit of the reserved pasta water. I usually add a bit (1/2 cup or so) of the pasta water.
Serve and ENJOY! ... Serve family style in a big bowl; drizzle with plenty of olive oil, chopped scallions, and lemon wedges. Serve with plenty of grilled crusty bread. A fruit salad is a nice side.
I mentioned crusty bread with tomato and garlic. It's a favorite of mine. Simply brush a baguette with olive oil and gill. Then, cut a garlic clove in half; and, rub over the toasted baguette. Then, cut a tomato in half; and, rub the tomato over the warm crusty bread. You will be amazed at how delicious it is.
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