This seafood pasta is a mix of shrimp, clams, mussels and scallops, all tossed together with spaghetti in a homemade tomato sauce. An easy yet elegant meal that’s perfect for entertaining!
Whenever I go to my local Italian restaurant, I order their special mixed seafood pasta. It can get expensive to go out to eat, so I decided to recreate my favorite restaurant dish at home. This pasta features plenty of fresh seafood tossed in a homemade sauce, and I think it’s even better than the restaurant version!
How do you make seafood pasta?
This recipe starts with an easy homemade tomato sauce, which is made with garlic onions, tomato puree and seasonings. While the sauce is simmering, it’s time to cook the pasta and seafood. The shrimp and scallops are cooked first, then the mussels and clams are steamed in a bit of cooking liquid from the pasta. Toss the spaghetti, seafood and tomato sauce together, then serve and enjoy!
Tips for seafood pasta
- The tomato sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance. You can store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook the pasta and seafood.
- While I prefer to make my own sauce for this recipe, you can substitute a jar of your favorite marinara sauce if you’re short on time.
- I use 31-40 count sized shrimp in this recipe. You can go for larger or smaller shrimp, but I find this size to be good because it’s approximately the same size as the scallops.
- Any mix of seafood will work here, other great options include chunks of fish, lobster or calamari.
- No spaghetti on hand? Try a different long pasta such as fettuccine, angel hair or linguine.
How to prepare mussels and clams
Mussels and clams taste great, but they require some special handling. You want to get live mussels and clams from the store. If the mussels or clams have open shells, tap on them and they should close, which means they’re alive and fine to eat. If the mussels and clams stay open before cooking, discard them.
Live mussels and clams need to be stored in the refrigerator. They should only be stored for one to two days and you want to store them in open containers in the refrigerator with a damp towel on top. Although they live in the sea, they should not be stored in water and if any water accumulates in the container, it should be drained every day. If the clams and mussels don’t smell like the sea, or they smell off, discard them.
Before cooking clams or mussels, place them in a bowl of cold water for about 20 minutes. This allows the shellfish to expel sand. Remove the shellfish from the water and discard the sandy water.
Remove the beards (the little furry bit from the flat side) from mussels. You can remove the beards by pulling by hand on the fibers toward the hinge of the mussel. You can hold the mussels with a towel to get a better grip and protect your hands.
Scrub the shellfish with a brush under cold water to remove any dirt, sand, or broken shell bits. After you have cooked the shellfish, discard any that don’t open during the cooking process.
HOW LONG TO COOK SEAFOOD
The seafood ingredients in this recipe cook at different rates, so you’ll want to cook the shrimp and scallops first, then remove them when you cook the clams and mussels so that they don’t get overcooked and tough.
- Clams: 4-6 minutes
- Scallops: 3-4 minutes
- Mussels: 3-4 minutes
- Shrimp: 2-3 minutes
Everyone will be so impressed when you serve up this delectable seafood pasta. I love to serve it for special occasions because it always gets rave reviews.
More great seafood recipes
- Baked Salmon with Garlic Butter
- Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa
- Bacon Wrapped Scallops
- Shrimp Ceviche
- New Orleans BBQ Shrimp
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided use
- 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 28 ounce can San Marzano Whole Tomatoes pureed in a blender or food processor
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 12 ounces spaghetti or other long pasta
- 1/2 pound shrimp peeled and deveined, leave tails on if desired for nicer presentation
- 1/2 pound sea scallops
- 1/2 pound clams scrubbed
- 1/2 pound mussels scrubbed and de-bearded
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Stir in the red pepper flakes (optional), then add the pureed tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until sauce has just started to thicken. Stir in the butter, then remove the sauce from the heat.
- While the sauce is simmering, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water according to package directions.
- Drain the pasta, reserving 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Season the scallops with salt and pepper, then add them to the pan.
- Cook the scallops for 1-2 minutes per side or until browned and opaque.
- Remove the scallops from the pan. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add them to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until pink and opaque.
- Remove the shrimp from the pan. Place the clams and mussels in the pan, along with the reserved pasta water. Bring to a simmer.
- Cover and cook for 4-6 minutes or until clams and mussels have opened. Discard any shells that did not open.
- Add the shrimp and scallops back to the pan along with the tomato sauce and spaghetti. Toss to coat everything with the sauce.
- Sprinkle with parsley, then serve.