Calamarata pasta with Mussels and Clams – Calamarata di Cozze e Vongole

The name of this type of dry pasta derives directly from  its shape, i.e. its resemblance to a squid cut into rings and the word “calamaro” in Italian meaning “squid”.  The seafood sauce to dress it is then completely in keeping with the fishy theme.  I dedicate this recipe to my friend Jack.

Ingredients: fresh mussels and clams, fresh tomato, olive oil, garlic, chilli, parsely leaves.

I realise that no weights and measures are provided but that is because the latter depend on how many people are going to be partaking of this lip-smacking dish.  My rule of thumb is 200g fresh clams per person for 100g pasta per person.  Since I was adding 1kg of mussels, I toned down the amount of clams.  For the garlic: about 1 clove per person or as preferred — it depends on how pungent the garlic is.


Here are the scrubbed and cleaned mussels …

IMG_1312 And here are the clams …IMG_1313 IMG_1314 One solitary tomato.  I dipped the tomato into boiling hot water for about a minute … then removed it and peeled off the skin.  I squeezed out the pips and cut the tomato into cubes (concassé).


Set aside for now.IMG_1315 Place the clams in a large saucepan or pot and cover with a lid.  There is no need to add any wine or other liquid.IMG_1316 Turn on the heat and wait for the clams to steam open … it doesn’t take long.  Switch off heat.IMG_1317 Use a pair of tongs to remove the mussels from the pan and set them in a bowl.  I tried removing the mussels with my bare fingers, stupidly, and lived to rue the experience: wow! hot!  When you remove the mussels with the tongs, shake off any excess liquid back into the saucepan.IMG_1318 Here is the liquid that the mussels exuded.  It’s very tasty and is essential to the dish’s success.IMG_1319 It is necessary to pass the liquid through a sieve, however, in order to get rid of any nasties that lurk about whenever mussels are concerned.  Set the liquid aside for now.IMG_1320 I washed out the saucepan and now covered the base with plenty of olive oil and a solitary, rather sad looking chilli.  That’s because some members of my family are not partial to chilli, so I have to go easy there.

IMG_1321 Switch on the heat and tilt the pan, so that the garlic concentrates in this little lake of olive oil, and therefore takes less time to cook to perfection … which means … until it turns golden in colour.  Do not let it brown or burn, please!  If you are not comfortable with the idea of tilting a large saucepan, you could always cook the garlic in a very  much smaller milk pan and then, once the garlic is cooked, transfer it to the larger saucepan.

IMG_1323 Add the clams and the chopped tomato …IMG_1324 Cover with a lid and wait for the clams to steam open.IMG_1325Now put the pasta into the boiling, salted water.  Most dry pasta takes between 9-10 and 11-12 minutes to cook but always check on the package instructions.
IMG_1327 The mussels had cooled down by now and so I could use my bare fingers now to snap some of the shells in half.IMG_1328 I totally removed all of the shells from about half of the mussels ….IMG_1329 And kept the other half on their half shells.  This is purely for decorative purposes but it works.IMG_1330 I also removed the shells from some of the steamed clams for the same reason.IMG_1331 When the pasta had about 3 minutes to go before the end of cooking time, I removed the pasta from the boiling water and transferred it directly into the saucepan containing the clams.  I then poured nearly all the liquid from the mussels that I had strained previously.IMG_1332 I turned on the heat very high and gave it a good stir …

IMG_1333 And I placed the lid on top to speed up the process of the pasta absorbing the liquid from the mussels.  I removed the lid and added some of the cooking water now (about 1 ladleful) and stirred continuously until I deemed the texture perfectly ‘al dente’ and switched off the heat.  Always remember to taste!IMG_1334 I added the shelled mussels and the shelled clams and gently mixed them in.IMG_1335 And I placed the mussels on the half shell on top, together with a scattering of parsely.  I then drizzled a tiny amount of olive oil to finish it off.IMG_1336 IMG_1337 IMG_1338 IMG_1339All right that’s enough now, I have to go … they’re waiting for me at the table and I don’t want this to go cold!

About myhomefoodthatsamore

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

9 Responses to Calamarata pasta with Mussels and Clams – Calamarata di Cozze e Vongole

  1. I am speechless, Jo! My son will eat that whole platter all by himself (his mom too)! 😛
    I love your presentation so~ much! You give your readers this feeling of being home, just as the name of your blog suggests. I love you Jo, for being so inviting! 😀

  2. Libby Morris says:

    Looks scrumptious!!!

  3. Oh my goodness Jo, that looks amazing – I can almost smell it from here! I love how simple it is so that the taste of the seafood stands out with a little help from the garlic, parsley, tomato, chilli and olive oil. I’ve not noticed this type of pasta here in London but I am going to keep an eye out for it now that I know about it! My son always requests my “seafood spaghetti” for his birthday meal but I think that this would be absolutely spectacular for his 16th in a few weeks. Will let you know! Thanks for sharing this…

  4. This looks wonderful! I have not seen many seafood -pasta dishes using tomatoes, albeit, few. Very nice indeed.

  5. Anneke says:

    Wow Jo, I wish I had been there to eat it!!

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