An Italian seafood marinara which starts by cooking the clams in garlic with the lid on to allow them to cook and open without overcooking. Served here with crusty bread and equally tasteful over spaghetti or your favorite type of pasta.
I have a few tips and suggestions for you but ideally it will take you all of 20 minutes to get this amazing seafood dish on the table!
WHAT IS A SEAFOOD MARINARA?
First off let's establish that a marinara sauce is the easiest Italian sauce recipe which requires a few ingredients. This sauce is cooked on medium to high heat that's how it retains its bright red color as opposed to a marinara sauce or tomato sauce that's slow cooked on low to medium heat for a thicker darker look for meatballs and pasta.
Seafood marinara started in the southern region of Italy both Naples and Sicily. It was a typical 'sailor-type' food which was both simple yet sophisticated and cooked with the basics of extra virgin olive oil, tomato, garlic and herbs.
HOW TO MAKE THIS SEAFOOD MARINARA
This recipe takes advantage of the convenience of frozen seafood.
- You will need to use 2 pans because we fry the prawns separately. Why?
- Because by frying the prawns in a little olive oil and butter on their own gives you a nice textured bite into the prawns and they add flavor to the tomato sauce.
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Cooking the prawns
- Heat a little oil & butter.
- Toss in the frozen prawns and let them cook till a bright pink and they're ready! This only takes about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Once the prawns have gone from a frozen state of white to a bright pink, golden brown turn the heat off. We will use this pan later!
What's the other pan for?
- Clams - we start by cooking the garlic in olive oil and adding the clams.
- When frying the garlic, cook till it shimmers, soft and fragrant but don't let it brown it gives a bitter taste to the sauce.
- Keeping the lid on is important because as the clams cook they will open and that's what we want. (Reserve the clam water please!)
- Don't overcook the clams or they become dry. Cook just until they open, you want them nice and soft.
- Turn the heat off and give the clams a good shake (just for a split second, it will open up any up-opened clams).
When you buy frozen mussels and they are already opened and halved they are semi-cooked. If they are whole, you would need to cook them as we did the clams to allow them to open up. In this case they are opened so they need a few minutes to cook.
- Add the mussels into the pot with the clams, lid back on, 2 minutes.
- Heat off now but leave the lid on to allow the steam to soften them - 2 to 3 minutes.
MAKING THE SAUCE FOR THE MARINARA SEAFOOD
- Use the same pan that you fried the prawns in (for the flavor)
- Keep the prawns aside in a bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil and cook the garlic.
- While the garlic cooks remove the clams and mussels from the water and set aside.
We are pouring the clam water into the pan where the garlic is frying so don't burn! The pan that's frying the garlic with butter is hot so move it off the stove while you do this!
PAY ATTENTION but gently and calmly
Move the pan off the stove and pour the water (the pot where the clams & mussels were cooking) into the garlic and oil.
- Add the tomato into the water and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
While the tomato is cooking get your pasta on!
For a quicker recipe you can substitute the canned tomato for tomato passata although the flavors differ so it's a matter of preference.
Once the pasta is cooked we add it into the tomato sauce so another important point!
COOKING THE PASTA
Take the pasta out of the water 2 to 3 minutes before the time and get it into the tomato sauce.
When the pasta cooks finish in the sauce (with some pasta water) you get a thicker sauce that holds onto the pasta resulting in a creamier dish!
- Too much water and the tomatoes are still watery you end up with a watery tomato sauce.
- Wait until sauce is thicker, add the pasta with the pasta water, that should give you 2 to 3 minutes of cooking time.
Now you are ready to add the mussels, clams and prawns.
I hope that you have enjoyed my Seafood Marinara Recipe!
TIPS & SUGGESTIONS
I think that I've shared all the tips and suggestions with you throughout this post. You can also see the full recipe card below with the Notes section.
Enjoy making this recipe it is so much quicker than the post looks so don't let the post length scare you!
- Have your 2 pans out and a pot to cook the pasta
- All the seafood is frozen so that's easy, no cleaning and cutting and waiting.
- You can slice your garlic or chop
- Olive oil on hand and your salt and pepper seasoning.
- Enjoy the recipe!
Give it a try and share your creations by using the hastag & @anosmickitchen #anosmickitchen on Instagram I would absolutely love to see them!
Feel free to leave a comment and rating below!
- This recipe uses frozen seafood.
- 250 grams spaghetti pasta
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes - See notes below
- 500 grams clams
- 500 grams half shelled mussels
- 20 de-veined prawns
- 3 cloves chopped garlic
- 2 tbsps. olive oil + 1 teaspoon for the prawns
- 2 tbsps. butter
- fresh parsley for garnish
- pinch of salt in the sauce
- Cook one clove of garlic in a tablespoon of oil in a large enough pan/pot with a lid for the clams. Cook for a few minutes (about 3 to 4 minutes) until they start opening.Once the clams open up (take a peek) they might not be all opened use a dish towel to hold the pot on both ends and give it a vigorous shake just for a split second. This helps the clams open.
- Now add the mussels into the clams pot and leave them with the lid on to steam and soften. After a minute or 2 turn the heat off and set the pot aside. Lid on.
Cooking The Prawns
- Heat another pan with a tablespoon of oil and the butter and cook one clove of garlic till a light golden brown. Add the prawns, lid off and let them cook for a couple of minutes in the oil and butter. When the prawns are cooked they will go from frozen icy white to a bright pink then golden brown.Remove the prawns and set them aside in a plate. We need the pan with it's juices!
- Remove the clams and mussels into a separate bowl and keep the water.
Cooking The Tomatoes
- In the same pan of the prawns, add the last teaspoon of oil and cook the last fresh garlic clove on medium heat.
- Carefully but confidently move the pan away from the heat and pour in the water from the clams. You're pouring water into the oil and garlic so please be careful not to burn. As long as the pan is off the stove and away from you, pour it in. Return the pan to the stove and cook the water on medium heat.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and salt into the pan. Let it all cook for 10 minutes or until a thick sauce.
Cook The Pasta
- Cook the pasta and remove from the heat 2 minutes before the package instructions. See more on notes.
- When the pasta is cooked the tomato sauce should now be thicker so add the spaghetti to the tomato sauce and combine it.
- Now add the clams, mussels and golden brown prawns!
- Serve with fresh parsley and a fresh black pepper. Optional but necessary is a dipping of ciabatta bread into the marinara sauce!