In Vietnamese cuisine, Bolognese pasta, Carbonara pasta, and Seafood spaghetti (or Spaghetti al Frutti di Mare) are among the most popular types of pasta served in Italian restaurants. Among these three, I personally prefer Frutti di Mare because it requires less time to cook than Bolognese sauce and is a healthier option with less fat than Carbonara.
Interestingly, the term “Frutti di Mare” literally translates to “Fruit of the Sea.” Therefore, the freshness and quality of seafood used in the recipe, especially mussels, are crucial as they produce flavorful juices while cooking that infuse the pasta with a taste of the sea.
Italian cuisine often relies on herbs for seasoning, and even a small amount can enhance the flavor of a dish. While pre-made Italian herb seasoning mixes can save time, for a dish as simple as this one, it’s best to let the ingredients shine through. I find that flat-leaf parsley and thyme are the most essential herbs to complement the delicious Frutti di Mare. Follow the recipe closely for the best results.
Seafood Spaghetti (Spaghetti al Frutti di Mare Recipe)
Ingredients for 2 servings of seafood pasta:
- 200 grams of spaghetti or linguine (recommended)
- 100 grams of shrimp, shells and veins removed, washed and patted dry
- 100 grams of squid, washed and sliced
- 300 grams of mussels, cleaned
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- A handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon of dried parsley)
- A handful of basil, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon of dried basil)
- 1/8 teaspoon of orange zest
- 3-4 sprigs of thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme)
- 30 ml (2 tablespoons) of fresh orange juice
- 45 ml (3 tablespoons) of white wine
- 200 grams of canned tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes, skin and seeds removed, finely diced)
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- To cook the pasta, use a large saucepan and bring water to a rolling boil. Add a pinch of salt, preferably sea salt, and then add all of the pasta to the saucepan. Allow the pasta to gradually sink into the water, stirring it gently a few times to prevent it from sticking together or to the bottom of the saucepan.
- Adjust the heat according to the instructions on the package, and drain the pasta when it is al dente, meaning it is cooked but still slightly firm to the bite. Take it out one or two minutes shorter than the time specified on the packaging, as the pasta will continue to cook later in the pan. Mix the drained pasta with a spoonful of olive oil to prevent it from sticking together while you prepare the seafood pasta sauce.
- To make the seafood pasta sauce, place a pan on the stove and add a spoonful of olive oil. Fry garlic and onion for about 2 minutes until they become fragrant. Then, add tomatoes and stir-fry with a pinch of salt and pepper for 2 minutes. Add wine, orange juice and zest, parsley, thyme, and stir well. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
- Once the garlic and onion are fragrant, add the shrimp, squid, and mussels to the pan. Stir everything together and cover the pan for around 2 minutes until the mussels have cooked and their shells open. Stir once more to combine all the ingredients.
- Set the heat to medium, then add the cooked pasta into the pan and mix it thoroughly with the seafood sauce until the pasta is evenly coated. Add salt and pepper to taste, and continue cooking until the sauce thickens and the pasta appears glossy.
- Transfer the pasta to a plate, and sprinkle some fresh parsley over the top for garnish.
For a truly authentic Spaghetti al Frutti di Mare, it should evoke the salty essence of the Mediterranean sea. The spaghetti should be cooked al dente and have a springy texture when bitten into.
Serve the pasta straight from the pan, accompanied by a refreshing glass of white wine.