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Recipe of the Week: Seafood Spaghetti Alla Napoletana


PHOTO PROVIDED Chef Loretta Paganini

The southern Italian Christmas Eve tradition of eating only fish is followed by Italian-American families all over the world. Typically, the celebration must include at least seven different types of seafood dishes to symbolize the seven sacraments. As families gather at the dinner table, they share a delicious holiday meal while they rekindle their ties to the Old Country traditions. In our family, we enjoy the celebration by always serving a seafood pasta, white pizza with shrimp, fried calamari, baccala cakes, stuffed clams, mussels in a spicy tomato sauce, and a pickled seafood salad. For me, it is such a pleasure after working in the kitchen all day to sit and watch young and old members of our family share a meal together while enjoying every morsel and hardly leaving room for dessert. If you are looking for a delicious seafood recipe to start your Christmas Eve tradition, look no further — this delicious pasta recipe will help you celebrate in style. Recreate this wonderful meal for your family and friends during the holiday or at any time of the year. Serves eight. (Chef tip: Make sure to clean your clams and mussels by soaking them several times in cold water with one teaspoon of salt until the water runs clear and all the sand is eliminated.)

1 pound imported spaghetti pasta

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 pound small baby clams

1/2 pound de-bearded mussels

1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 pound sea scallops, cut in half

1 onion, peeled and finely minced

1/2 carrots, peeled and finely diced

1 celery rib, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/8 teaspoon red hot pepper flakes

2 anchovy fillets, finely minced

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup black Kalamata olives, pitted

1 cup red tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 cups tomato sauce

1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Bring a 10-quart pot of water to boil. Add salt. Cook pasta about nine minutes until “al dente.” Drain and reserve.

Place clams and mussels in a bowl of cold water with one teaspoon of salt for five minutes. Drain and rinse well. Heat olive oil in 10-inch skillet. Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, red pepper and anchovies. Cook for five minutes on medium heat. Add chopped tomatoes and wine and heat through.

Add tomato sauce, olives, parsley, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add shrimp and scallops and cook for a few minutes. Add steamed clams and mussels and toss with sauce.

Toss pasta with sauce. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.