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Shellfish Sauces for Pasta - Italian Shell Fish Sauces

Italy enjoys a tremendous wealth of shellfish, and shellfish are uniquely suited to pasta sauce, everything from simple clam sauces to extraordinarily elegant lobster sauces. And shellfish sauces are healthy and refreshing, and perfect in the summer months.

Reef Spaghetti -- Spaghetti allo Scoglio
Reef spaghetti, or spaghetti allo scoglio, is made with all sorts of crustaceans and shellfish, and is very popular, especially in festive occasions. Exactly what goes into it depends upon what's available at the fishmonger's, but here's a suggestion.

Spaghetti with Clams in a White Sauce, Spaghetti alle Vongole
Spaghetti with clams is the quintessential summer dish, and is amazingly refreshing on a hot day. Though you can use canned shellfish packed in their juice to make spaghetti alle vongole, live clams are far better. I prefer them in a white (tomato free) sauce because I find that tomatoes overshadow the flavor of the clams.

Seafood Spaghettini -- Spaghettini di Mare
Seafood Spaghettini, or Spaghettini di Mare: This is quick and simple; the trick is to time when you begin cooking the sauce so the pasta is ready when it is.

Maccheroni alla Diaz
"These maccheroni may not be 19th century," writes Caròla Francesconi, "but they're quite worthy of standing beside maccheroni alla Campolattaro and Maccheroni alla Montglas, and like them are part of the refined Franco-Neapolitan tradition that has delighted our palates with a great many dishes." The recipe was devised by Marcello Diaz, son of the great General who stopped the Austrians in WWI, and was prepared by Luigi Picone, chef of the Circolo del Remo e Della Vela Italia.

Misto Sugo: The Beginnings of Fish Sauce for Pasta or Rice
Yes, you find things like this in Italian fish markets too: a mixture of chopped and whole fish including salmon, prawns, squid, mussels, white fish, and (I expect) whatever else the fishmonger had on hand that wasn't bony. Preparation is simple...

Bigoli with Shellfish -- Bigoli con Molluschi
Bigoli with Shellfish, or Bigoli con Molluschi: Bigoli are thick strands of pasta, which rather resemble the strings of a contrabass. Here's a simple recipe for them from Dino Coltro's La Cucina Tradizionale Veneta; he doesn't give quantities, which means you are on your own; I've given amounts, but if your sense of proportion dictates otherwise feel free to change things.

Butterflies with Scampi and Broccoli Florets Recipe
Butterflies with Scampi and Broccoli Florets, or Farfalle con Scampi e Broccoletti: Broccoli florets find their way into a great many pasta sauces, and here work beautifully with scampi.

Cavatelli with Broccoli Raab, Scampi and Baby Cuttlefish
According to Agricola Slow Food, the choice of cavatelli as the type of pasta clearly reveals Puglian influence, as does the use of broccoli raab. They go on to say that the combination of greens and fish is quite common in the Abruzzo region, in part because of barter between farmers and fishermen, and in part because those farmers who had boats would take them out to supplement their incomes.

Clam or Mussel Soup without Tomato -- Zuppa di Vongole o Cozze in Bianco
Clam or Mussel Soup without Tomato, or Zuppa di Vongole o Cozze in Bianco: This is classic, simple Neapolitan fare, and will work well as a first course, served with bread to mop up the drippings.

Eggplant Gnocchi: Gnocchetti di Melanzana
Tasty gnocchi made with eggplant, and a zucchini-and-shrimp sauce to go with them that will also be nice over pasta.

Fregula with Clams -- Fregula con Cocciula
Fregula are pasta blebs, for want of a better term, and are one of the standard Sardinian pasta shapes. Here you will want fairly fine fregula (bits a 16th of an inch, or 2 mm in diameter). Another option, though not at all Sardinian, would be to use cuscus.

Fusilli Spirale, and a Leek-and-Clam Sauce
Fusilli Spirale, and a Leek-and-Clam Sauce: Leeks are quite delicate, and work very well with clams, supporting rather than overshadowing them.

Joanmarie's Toasted Spaghetti with Clams
Joanmarie has kindly shared her quick, simple, slightly different recipe for spaghetti with clams in a white sauce.

Another Fregula Recipe
Another Fregula Recipe, this time with a fish sauce: last year I posted a feature on fregula, a Sardinian fine-grained pasta that's in some ways reminiscent of cuscus.

Linguine with olive oil, garlic, parsley, pepper, clams...
In Short, Pasta Atomica: Brad O'Connor's variation on Aglio e Olio is now featured in Milanese restaurants.

Pantacce with Scallops, Zucchini and Shrimp Recipe
Pantacce with Scallops, Zucchini and Shrimp, or Pantacce con Zucchine, Capesante e Gamberetti: This is a recipe from the Trattoria Conti, in Roncadelle (Province of Brescia). Pantacce are a local pasta shape, and in their absence use sedanini, a shape that is similar to penne but thinner.

Pasta with Bay Scallops and Bell Peppers
From Minni Geraldi. Looks simple, quick & tasty

Penne with Shrimp and Bell Peppers -- Penne con Gamberi e Peperoni
Penne with Shrimp and Bell Peppers, or Penne con Gamberi e Peperoni: A simple, refreshing, seafoody pasta dish.

Pipette Rigate and a Shrimp Cream Sauce
Pipette Rigate and a Shrimp Cream Sauce: Shrimp and cream work remarkably well together, and this dish is perfect for a romantic occasion.

Scungilli Marinara
A recipe for scungilli (large mollusks in spiral shells -- it calls for canned) cooked in a marinara sauce and served over pasta.

Shrimp Cartoccio in a Zesty Sauce, Cartoccio di Gamberi in Salsa Piccante
One of the most spectacular ways of serving pasta is al cartoccio -- boiled, sauced, then wrapped in paper and baked. As a preparation method this may sound odd, but your guests will greet the arrival of the packets at the table with mounting anticipation that will turn to joy as they open them and savor the aromas that burst forth. Here, we use shrimp.

Spaghetti al Cartoccio
One of the most spectacular ways of serving it is al cartoccio -- boiled, sauced, then wrapped in paper and baked. As a preparation method this may sound odd, but your guests will greet the arrival of the packets at the table with mounting anticipation that will turn to joy as they open them and savor the aromas that burst forth.

Spaghetti al Cartoccio
One of the most spectacular ways of serving pasta is al cartoccio -- boiled, sauced, then wrapped in paper and baked. As a preparation method this may sound odd, but your guests will greet the arrival of the packets at the table with mounting anticipation that will turn to joy as they open them and savor the aromas that burst forth.

Spaghetti al Cartoccio Vucciria Style
One of the most spectacular ways of serving pasta is al cartoccio -- boiled, sauced, then wrapped in paper and baked. As a preparation method this may sound odd, but your guests will greet the arrival of the packets at the table with mounting anticipation that will turn to joy as they open them and savor the aromas that burst forth. This is an extraordinarily rich version for a happy occasion.

Spaghetti with Clam Sauce Viareggina Style
Spaghetti with Clam Sauce Viareggina Style, or Spaghetti con le Vongole alla Viareggina: There are innumerable variations on the theme of spaghetti with clams. This calls for live clams (you'll want small-to-medium sized) and is from Viareggio, one of the towns on the Tuscan coastal plain north of Pisa.

Spaghetti with Clams, Mussels, and Lots of Saffron
Spaghetti with Clams, Mussels, and Lots of Saffron, or: Spaghetti con Conchiglie, Cozze e… Tanto Zafferano: Shellfish have long had a reputation of exciting people's randy feelings. With a bit of planning, one could even make this at the beach, at which point a secluded spot and an air mattress would make things complete.

Spaghetti with Curried Clam Sauce Recipe - Spaghetti alle Von…
Clam sauce is one of the most popular summer pasta sauces in Italy, and even though I personally prefer spaghetti alle vongole in bianco -- white, without tomatoes -- a sauce that includes tomatoes provides a nice change of pace. Here we have one further enriched with curry.

Spaghetti with Shrimp Carbonara Sauce Recipe - Spaghetti Con …
Spaghetti alla Carbonara, seasoned with sautéed Guanciale and quickly beaten eggs, is both easy and extraordinarily tasty. Using shrimp instead of pork provides a tasty, romantic even, variation on the classic spaghetti alla carbonara.

Spiny Lobster Basket, Cestino all'Aragosta
An elegant lobster-based pasta dish that's perfect for Valintine's Day, or a dinner with close friends.

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