This is the best homemade frutti di mare you’ll ever taste! You won’t believe how easy it is to make and how incredibly delicious this classic Italian seafood dish is.
Frutti di mare translates to “fruits of the sea,” and it’s certainly an accurate name. This seafood pasta dish is made with fresh clams, mussels, scallops, and sweet, succulent shrimp that are all tossed in a garlic wine sauce and served over perfectly al dente pasta — this is a meal you won’t soon forget.
One of the best parts of this impressive dish is how easy it is. It doesn’t require a lot of prep time and you only need two pans on the stovetop — one large skillet (or saute pan) to cook the seafood and one large pot to make the pasta.
There are as many different recipes as there are Italian grandmothers for Frutti di Mare. And every family has a favorite ingredient that makes it their own special version of this Italian classic.
And if you’re a seafood lover who likes the sounds of this delicious pasta dish, you’ll want to check out this Cioppino Recipe, which is a San Francisco-style version.
Ingredients to make Frutti di Mare
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make a Frutti di Mare. In Chef Speak this is called the Mise en Place which translates into Everything in its Place.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed the cooking process, but it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
What I have available and who I am serving often dictates what goes into my interpretation of this wonderful dish.
My wife enjoys white sauces more than red sauces, so when I prepared this dish for her, I kept it in more of an aioli-type sauce. Of course, if you prefer a red sauce or a touch of red wine, feel free to adjust the recipe.
This dish also makes a wonderful Fra Diavolo if you’re in the mood for a seafood-based pasta dish in a spicy tomato sauce.
What type of pasta do you serve frutti de mare with?
Typically, frutti de mare is served over long pasta varieties like linguine, spaghetti, or bucatini. Angel hair is too fine to support the pasta, and wider noodles or shapes will not complement the sauce and seafood.
How to make Frutti di Mare
The first step is adding the olive oil, garlic, basil and red pepper flakes to a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Let the garlic cook for about 30 seconds to release the flavor into the oil.
Then, add the seafood to the hot pan and cover the pan. This will steam the mussels and clams open as well as cook the shrimp and scallops.
It’s important to note the cooking time will vary depending on the seafood you’ve chosen and its size, so you’ll need to let the mussels and clams give you the cue to let you know they’re finished cooking.
** I thought searing the shrimp and scallops first might help, but it really wasn’t necessary and caused them to be just a little overcooked. My advice would be to par-cook the shrimp and scallops, then remove them from the pan before adding the mussels and clams to steam open. Then add them back to the pan to finish cooking once the mussels and clams have steamed open.
** When you drain pasta, always reserve some of the pasta water to ladle over the near-finished sauce if the consistency needs to be adjusted.
**Make sure to choose the freshest seafood for this dish. The quality of the seafood directly correlates to exactly how delicious this recipe turns out.
I had a nice variety of seafood, but again feel free to add in what you have on hand.
What other seafood can I add to Frutti de Mare?
Some of my favorite additions to this dish are:
- Salmon, snapper, mahi-mahi or any thick cut fish you enjoy.
Serve your frutti di mare over linguine, and pour a little of the best olive oil you have on top for added flavor. If you want to spice it up a bit, you can also try a drizzle of chili oil.
And I know Italians don’t like cheese with seafood, but I always add some grated Romano cheese to my pasta dishes — even seafood.
While you can plate the dish separately, it’s best served in a very large serving bowl, family-style — especially for a dinner party. Then, store any leftover frutti di mare in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
I do hope you give this dish a try, it’s really very easy to make, and you’ll have a restaurant-quality dinner for less than half the price of dining out at your favorite restaurant.
Frutti di mare is a combination of a variety of different types of seafood cooked to perfection in a sauce made with dry white wine and minced garlic cloves, as well as herbs (like fresh basil leaves and fresh parsley) and spices. The succulent seafood is then served over a bed of pasta.
Frutti de Mare literally translates into “fruit of the sea.” It refers to all of the delicious types of seafood found in the oceans and seas, from large shrimp, fish, and any other type of shellfish to bay scallops, anchovy fillets, baby clams, or squid tentacles..
Tomatoes or marinara are not typically used when making Frutti de mare, it’s made with olive oil, garlic and all the delicious juices from the seafood. Since it’s your dinner you can of course use marinara or tomatoes when you make it.
Frutti di mare is most often found in the coastal towns of Italy like Venice or Sicily