Fancy Schmancy Seafood Pasta – Amatriciana di Mare

This pasta dish is a close interpretation of  the “Amatriciana di Mare” recipe of chef Dino de Bellis (currently working at Rome’s Salotto Culinario restaurant).  I think his title is a misnomer because ‘amatriciana’ and/or ‘matriciana’ is all about pancetta and/or guanciale, neither of which are even remotely connected to this seafood concoction — but who cares? It sounded intriguing when I read it and opted to make it on last New Year’s Eve.  It’s not a difficult dish (nothing I cook is ever difficult) but it does involve a lot of steps and hence not for those who are in a hurry.  It was definitely worth the effort is all I have to say.

Ingredients: (1) ‘astice’ or small lobster — but this is optional, I was going to make another dish using astice and so I thought I would put the astice shells to good use in making the fish stock, (2) venus clams, and (3) any variety of shrimps and crayfish of your choice.  Also required will be: good quality pasta, a handful of pistachios, lemon zest,  a couple of small tomatoes, olive oil and garlic.



Peel the zest of one lemon.  You won’t need all of it so you can put the rest in a plastic bag to keep in the freezer.  (Please ignore the onions on the left of the photo, they have nothing to do with this recipe.)
2 Place the lemon zest in a little saucepan full of cold water and bring to the boil.  When it does, throw the water away and repeat the operation 5 times.  Drain the lemon zest and set aside.  You won’t be using it till almost the very end.

3 Toast a handful of pistachios on a low heat.  Set aside.


Here is the pasta.  Open the packet and set aside.

And now the first thing that needs to be done is make the fish stock.


1Here is the astice …. still alive …

2And here was my plateful of shrimps (on the left) and ‘mazzancolle’ prawns (on the right).

3I had put the astice in the freezer for a bit … and then plunged it, hopefully dazed by the cold, straight into a pot full of summering water.

4I put a lid on it and let the astice cook for … ? … actually I can’t remember for how long but I expect it would have been anywhere between 8 and 10 minutes.

5Here it is.  Remove and set it aside.

6Remove the heads from the the mazzancolle prawns and peel the shell off their bodies — their shells are going to add taste to the stock.  Set aside 4-5 heads of the mazzancolle, however, because they will be used to season the sauce later on.

Remove the heads from the shrimps too — but do not peel them just yet.


8So, at this point, what has gone into the stockpot is: all the heads of the shrimps, all the shells of the mazzancolle.  The heat should be enough for the stock to simmer.

9Now add the decapitated shrimps to the stock.  Cook them for only 3 minutes and drain straight away and plunge into a bowl with ice-cold water.  Now peel the shrimps and …10Return the previously cooled shells of the shrimps back to the stock.

11While the stock is simmering away …

12Peel the carapace of the astice as you can.  Set the flesh aside (the flesh was for another recipe) and put the shells back into the stockpot.

1314Let the fish stock simmer for about half an hour, then remove all the shells.  You will use this stock to cook the pasta.


Now steam the venus clams (vongole) so that the shells open.  All you have to do is place the venus clams in a pot, cover it, and put it over a flame for a few minutes until they steam open.  No need to any wine.
16 17Snap the shell of the venus clams so that the clams can rest on the half shell.  Put them back in the pan for now and cover with the lid.  Set aside.


19 Remember the mazzancolle prawns, i.e. what’s on the left of this photo? 20 De-vein the mazzancolle and cut them into one-inch pieces or so.  Also chop up a tomato into cubes. (Talk about the Barefoot Contessa … what’s my foot doing in this photo?)21 A close-up of the cut-up mazzancolle.22 Drizzle some olive oil into a sauce and add a little bit of chilli and a couple of small garlic cloves.  Turn the heat on and cook the garlic until it turns golden.23 At this point, add the mazzancolle heads.24 Cook them for one minute on a highter heat and then add the chopped tomato.25 Now, add the liquor that the venus clams exuded (this sounds like double-speak for some other activity that’s beyond any of us!!! What I mean is : add the liquid that the venus clams produced when they were steamed earlier on.)

26 When the fish stock comes to a rolling boil, add the right amount of salt and when it comes back to the boil, throw in the pasta.

27 Chop up some parsley leaves while the pasta is cooking, as well as the lemon zest.28 When the pasta is almost cooked, transfer it to the saucepan … and finish off the pasta by adding the stock until the past is perfectly cooked … ‘al dente’.

29 Taste the pasta and sprinkle some salt … as much as is required.

30 Add the venus clams on their half shells …31 Mix well or toss the pan (I can’t toss and take photos at the same time!).32 And only towards the very end do you add the mazzancolle prawns.33 Again, mix well or toss the pan.34 Add the lemon zest …35 Remove the mazzancolle heads …36 Throw them away.37 Add the pistachios (that were toasted earlier on … in fact, I think it would be better to pulverise the pistachios instead of leaving them whole.  Never mind, next time.)38 Switch the heat off.  And, last, add the parsely.  Give it a final toss.39 Here it is.  If you like, you could add one final drizzle of olive oil.40 Buon appetito.41It really was very good.  Tasty but balanced … very filling and ‘light’ at the same time.

About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
This entry was posted in Fish and seafood, Herbs and plants, italian home food, Primi (first courses - usually a pasta or risotto), Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Fancy Schmancy Seafood Pasta – Amatriciana di Mare

  1. I love seafood and I know I would love this – whatever it’s called! Looks AMAZING! Yum.

  2. lory says:

    Gnammmmm!….adoro il pesce….in tutte le salse!…..

  3. Gorgeous ingredients, love the addition o pistachio with seafood, that’s new to me. Thanks!

  4. Sensational! If only I could get my hands on those ingredients – and that plateful of delicious looking food!

  5. Valentina says:

    Pistachios on seafood, good idea.

  6. I’m sure this tasted great! Could probably be simplified somewhat 😉

    • Well spotted … this was a bit of a confusing post, now that I think about it. And that’s because … I was making a mini lobster salad, quickly cooking shrimps to be served with mayo, and preparing the amatriciana di mare pasta all at the same time!

      • It may also be that the recipe you used was a bit too complicated? I usually try to think what a certain step intends to do and if it makes sense to me. If I can think of a better or simpler way to achieve the same or materially the same, I just change it 🙂 There are many recipes, also or perhaps even especially those written by famous chefs, that have many unnecessary steps or instructions in them.

      • P.S. You could probably ask a nephew or whatever to teach you how to ‘crop’ your pictures. That would allow you to remove your foot from a picture if you don’t want it there. And you also get the cut away any junk in your kitchen that you don’t want us to see 😉

  7. Just as well I’m not too coy, hey? Thanks Stefan ! wish I could ‘hire’ you for a couple of hours!!! ha ha ha … how many degrees do you have? But seriously, re the pasta recipe … ??? did you really think it was so complicated? It was basically mazzancolle and venus clams (tomato, garlic, olive oil and the lemon zest). I though your lasagne di carnevale far more time consuming … have been plotting and planning to prepare a ‘sartù’ one of these days … that’s full of step-1,step-2 etc but quite delicious if you like that sort of thing. A litlle bit of baroque every now and then …

  8. alfinouille says:

    Even fancier than the seafood pasta recipe mentioned in this article ! Thanks for the great cooking inspiration

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