Spaghetti and Shellfish by Todd English

Spaghetti and Shellfish by Todd English


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“If you’re good at juggling pots and pans, you can back-time this so the seafood and pasta are ready at the same time. Or, just keep the sauteed seafood warm while you cook the spaghetti. Either way, you’ll have an authentic frutti di mare pasta with the added holiday luxury of lobster.”

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Serving Size / Yield

6 servings


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tbs. salt, plus more to season
  • 24 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1⁄4 C. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 sm. leek, including light green part, or onion, diced
  • 14 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1⁄4 C. dry white wine
  • 1 pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 PEI mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 2 lbs. cooked lobster meat, roughly chopped or cut into chunks, at room temperature
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
  • 4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, chopped

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In a large bowl, combine the water and 1 tablespoon salt and stir to dissolve the salt. Add the clams and soak at room temperature for 20 minutes to purge them of grit. Drain and rinse the clams before proceeding.

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the garlic and leek and saute until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the clams, cherry tomatoes, wine, a pinch of salt, and a grind of pepper, then cover the pan and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the mussels, re-cover, and simmer until all of the shellfish are open, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Remove and discard any shellfish that failed to open. Taste the cooking liquid and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Move the skillet to a warm place while you cook the spaghetti.

Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Scoop out and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta in a colander.

Transfer the pasta to a large bowl, add the lobster meat, the clams and mussels and their cooking liquid, the basil, and the parsley and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add some of the reserved cooking water if the pasta seems too dry. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired, and serve immediately.

Todd’s Tip: PEI (Prince Edward Island) mussels from the Atlantic north of Nova Scotia are widely available and consistently plump and tasty.

Recipe courtesy of The Macy’s Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook

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