On our recent trip to Venice, we brought home a cooler full of fresh seafood to cook at home in Umbria, and two of my choices this year were clams and red shrimp. The red shrimp of Venice are delicious and have a sweet, delicate flavor, and are so prized, they are often served raw as an appetizer. The clams we bought were the tiny vongole veraci that are perfect in pasta dishes, so I decided to mix the two in a seafood pasta for dinner.
When preparing your clams for this recipe, remove any dirt, or sand, by scrubbing them with a firm brush under cool running water. Then, about 20 minutes before cooking, soak them in fresh, cool water with two tablespoons of cornmeal. This procedure will help purge any sand remaining within. The shrimp often come whole with heads and tails here in Italy. I remove the heads to cook up in the sauce, discarding the shell surrounding the meat, and leave the tail intact but shelled shrimp are fine to use in this recipe.
I didn’t want to cover the flavor of my seafood in a tomato sauce, so I used a white wine sauce instead, but I added sweet cherry tomatoes to add flavor, color, and texture. If fresh, ripe tomatoes are unavailable or out of season, you could substitute canned tomatoes, instead. I would use one (14-ounce) can of cherry tomatoes for a recipe this size.
Venice Seafood Market
Delicious Red Shrimp Of Venice
Deborah Mele 2017
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
- 3 Medium Cloves of Garlic, Thinly Sliced
- 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
- 1 Pound Small Clams, Scrubbed
- 3/4 Pound Shrimp, Shells Removed (See Notes Above)
- 1 Pound Spaghetti or Long Pasta of Choice (See Notes Above)
- 2 Cups Halved Ripe Cherry Tomatoes (See Notes Above)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
- Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley Leaves
- In a large, heavy saucepan, heat half the oil over medium-high heat until lightly smoking.
- Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add the wine and bring to a boil.
- Add the clams, cover, and cook, shaking the pan often until they open.
- Transfer the clams to a bowl; once cool, remove the meat from the shells, leaving about a third of the clams in their shells to garnish the bowls for serving.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
- Once boiling, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until it is “al dente.”
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and saute the shrimp for just a couple of minutes until bright pink.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and chili flakes and cook another minute or two until the tomatoes soften.
- Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley.
- Add the shrimps and tomatoes to the clam pot and mix.
- Drain the pasta, then return it to the pot.
- Add the seafood mixture and cook for a minute or two over high heat, stirring constantly until it is piping hot.
- Serve immediately in individual bowls, with the clams still in their shells on top as a garnish.