Merry Christmas folks. Every Christmas eve my dad makes us a delicious Italian seafood feast. We usually have crab legs and/or shrimp as a first course, followed by this luxurious tomato sauce over pasta with lots of buttery garlic bread on the side. And, of course, red wine. You can make this sauce with whichever kind of seafood you enjoy. I personally love mussels and oysters but I’m not much of a shrimp eater. Other people are the opposite. Whatever you like, add it. This recipe is more of a general guideline than a precise formula.
couple of bay leaves
fresh italian parsley
2 large cans crushed tomatoes
1 large can diced tomatoes
2 cans white clam sauce
1 container of real lump crab meat
1 package frozen baby octopus
1 package “calamari style” octopus rings
1 small can of anchovies (optional)
oysters (also optional. buy them already shucked, they usually come raw in a tupperware container in the grocery store)
pasta (any type will work, my family usually uses pasta that holds sauce well, like corkscrew, shells, bowtie, or penne)
Directions: Saute the onion in olive oil until it is almost translucent, then add the garlic and cook for 1 or 2 minutes more. Next add all 3 cans of tomatoes, 2 cans of clam sauce, the anchovies (chopped finely with the oil drained off), a handful of chopped parsley, and the bay leaves. Mix this together over low heat and let it cook down, uncovered, for an hour or more until it thickens up. Taste it and add salt, pepper, & red pepper to taste. While the sauce is cooking, get a big pot of water up to a rolling boil for the pasta. Put the pasta in right before the seafood goes into the sauce and they should be ready at about the same time. Once it gets to the desired consistency blend in the lump crab meat and the octopus (both the little babies and the calamari style rings). These only need about 5 minutes. Then add the shrimp, mussels, and/or oysters. These only need 2-3 minutes. Remove the bay leaves at the end if you can find them. Drain the pasta, put it back in its pot with a few scoops of the tomato sauce to keep the noodles wet and prevent sticking. When you’re serving, go light on the pasta and heavy on the marinara, it’s more like a stew than a sauce. You can add fresh parmesan cheese or more fresh parsley to the top to add a little color and freshness but it’s not necessary.
Enjoy & happy holidays.