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!

When I have friends and family over, I often serve seafood such as classic cioppino, bacon wrapped scallops, shrimp kabobs or this simple yet totally satisfying seafood pasta.

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A bowl of seafood pasta with shrimp, clams and scallops.

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!

Homemade tomato sauce in a skillet.

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.

Raw shrimp, mussels, clams and scallops on a sheet pan.

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.

Cooked shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams.


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

A skillet of seafood pasta with spaghetti, shrimp and shellfish.

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

5 from 85 votes

Seafood Pasta

AuthorSara Welch
A bowl of seafood pasta with shrimp, clams and scallops.
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!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Serves 4


  • 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.


Calories: 561kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 182mg | Sodium: 716mg | Potassium: 1066mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 840IU | Vitamin C: 27.5mg | Calcium: 192mg | Iron: 6.6mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I made this recipe and it was delicious. I used organic fire roasted tomato sauce. My spouse and I throughly enjoyed this recipe. Thank you for sharing such an awesome and easy to make dish.

  2. Made this for Christmas Eve dinner! Everyone loved it! I couldn’t find whole tomatoes so I subbed chopped and it worked fine. I also added lobster at end. Will definitely make again!

  3. I like to prepare the dinner ahead of time. I know seafood is best cooked at the last minute, but what about cooking it a little before guests arrive and serving it about an hour later? I assume I’d have to refrigerate the seafood after it’s cooked. About how long should I reheat it?

    1. You would want to reheat it over low heat for the least amount of time possible to warm it through, seafood can easily get tough if it’s overcooked!

  4. 5 stars
    Perfect seafood sauce!! I made this with shrimp, scallops, clam pieces in the sauce and haddock…per other recommendations I added basil and red wine to the sauce!as it simmered. Everything about this recipe is wonderful in part because it can be versatile. Absolutely will put this in the recipe book!! 🙂

    1. Hi. Did you substitute the pasta water with wine? Also, what’s the name of wine? And how much wine did you add?

  5. 5 stars
    This looks fabulous!! I have a question though, do you add the 3/4 cup of pasta water that you use to cook the clams and mussels to the tomato sauce after they have opened or lift them from the water and add to sauce?

  6. 5 stars
    Amazing and delicious recipe! I added a little white cooking wine to the simmered tomato sauce and it gave it extra pizzazz!!! By the way, I bought the San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes vs. store bought marina; I think that’s the way to go. Great recipe!!

  7. 5 stars
    I tried this yesterday and my family loved it! What should I do if there are leftovers though? how long do you think its shelf life would be and what would be the best advice for reheating it.

    1. It should be good for 2 days, reheat on the stove over low heat or microwave in 30 second increments until warm.

  8. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! The homemade sauce with top shelf tomatoes is second to none. Added some chopped basil for a little zing.

    When boiling the mussels, I also threw in a few lobster tails for good measure!

    Definite go to for years to come…thanks again for posting!

  9. I made this for Christmas Eve dinner for two. It was heavenly. Such a special dish! Thank you! This will be a popular recipe in our household.

  10. Any reason why you wouldn’t cook the Clams and mussels in the red sauce instead of pasta water? I’ve never made anything with seafood before so I’m just wondering if that is an option .I’m making this for Christmas Eve and a little nervous about it

    1. I dont cook the clams and mussels in the red sauce only because they need to get a good steam to cook properly and simmering pasta sauce doesn’t produce the same amount of steam as water. You can try it but it will take longer to cook!

  11. Could you please tell me ow long to cook the fish if adding fish to it and what kind of fish would you recommend? Thank you

  12. Hi! Can you please give tips on how to cook beforehand and reheat this? I’m thinking of making it for Christmas Eve and would want to make it before the guests arrive.

    Thank you!

    1. I might prepare the recipe through step 5, then cook the seafood at the last minute. Seafood is not a great candidate for reheating as it can easily become tough and rubbery. If you want to try to make the entire thing in advance I’d heat on low in a pan on the stove until warmed through.

      1. 5 stars
        I don’t understand how the sauce gets the delicious fish flavor if it’s not cooked a while longer in the sauce. Like at least an hour. Calamari would have to cook longer as well. Thank you. I’m cooking as we speak. 🙂

      2. You can try to do it this way if you want, it’s not something I typically recommend because seafood can go from perfectly cooked to tough and rubbery in just minutes, so there’s a lot more room for error with a long cook time.

      3. I am a very seasoned cook. But I have a friend who had just given me her marina sauce to try and she suggested making the sauce and putting a bit of sauce in a pan and cooking the seafood separately. What a great suggestion. The seafood did not overcook and I had it three different nights. And I had enough sauce to make meatballs and eat the sauce again without having any taste of seafood. Remember seafood cooks quickly. This is really the best way.

  13. 5 stars
    Very good recipe! I did add Italian seasoning to the sauce and a little red wine as well. At the end, I also added some fresh chopped basil to the sauce and garnished with grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese Definitely will make it again.

  14. 5 stars
    I always forget how good sauce can be when using San marzanos. This turned out fantastic. Thanks for the simple but flavorful recipe