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Seafood Spaghetti so Tasty and healthy-simply the best

June 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Italian Food

Espagueti Frutos del Mar

Hearty with shrimp, mussels, squid, and octopus, this flavor-packed pasta dish gets an extra boost from a bright basil purée drizzled on before serving. True, there’s some effort involved in making it, but you can prepare the various elements in stages, and the drama and deliciousness of the result will more than compensate your efforts.


For octopus

  • 2 pound cleaned frozen octopus, thawed and rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf

For tomato sauce

  • 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For basil purée

  • 3/4 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

For seafood and pasta

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp in shell, peeled, leaving tail fan attached, and deveined
  • 3/4 pound cultivated mussels, rinsed
  • 3/4 pound baby squid, cleaned, bodies cut into 1/4-inch rounds, and tentacles left whole

Equipment: a pressure cooker


Cook octopus:

Put octopus in pressure cooker with water, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and seal pressure cooker with lid, then cook at high pressure according to manufacturer’s instructions 10 minutes. Put pressure cooker in sink (do not remove lid) and run cold water over lid until pressure goes down completely. Remove lid. Transfer octopus to a cutting board, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Cut off and discard head, then cut tentacles into 1-inch pieces.

Make tomato sauce:

Simmer tomatoes with their juice, basil, and oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, uncovered, stirring and mashing tomatoes occasionally, until thick and reduced to about 3/4 cup, 20 to 25 minutes.

Make basil purée:

Purée basil, oil, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender, scraping down side as necessary, until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl.

Cook pasta and seafood:

Cook spaghetti in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until al dente.

Meanwhile, purée garlic and oil in cleaned blender until smooth. Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over high heat until hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Add oil mixture, then immediately add octopus, shrimp, and mussels and sauté, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are browned on edges and mussels begin to open, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce and reserved octopus-cooking liquid and cook, stirring, until mussels just open wide and shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes more (discard any unopened mussels). Season with salt and pepper.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Add squid to hot seafood in skillet, stirring to combine, then add to hot pasta and toss to combine (squid will cook as it is being tossed). Serve drizzled with all of basil purée.

Cook’s notes: If you do not have a pressure cooker, octopus can be simmered in a 4-quart pot with bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 4 cups water, covered, turning occasionally, until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. · Octopus can be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled, uncovered, until cool, then covered. · Tomato sauce can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

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