Seafood Pasta with Red Sauce (Linguini Frutti di Mare)

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Seafood Pasta with Red Sauce (Linguini Frutti di Mare) is a fancy Italian pasta dish that is surprisingly simple to make. It’s perfect for date night or to serve at your next dinner party.

You will love this restaurant style seafood pasta with Italian bread and a delicious salad. This truly is one of my favorite pasta recipes as it takes me back to summers in Italy. You will also love this shrimp pasta, stuffed clams, or this pasta with clams.

seafood pasta with red sauce on a plate
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Italian seafood pasta with red sauce (linguini frutti di Mare)

Delicious Italian style seafood pasta with homemade red sauce! This is on our menu often at our Italian table. It is a wonderful summer seafood pasta. It is fancy for a special occasion and simple for a night at home with the family. 

A very popular dish meaning ” fruits of the sea “- the ultimate spaghetti Frutti di Mare recipe, made with mussels, squid, and shrimp in a thick red tomato sauce.

These are the seafoods I like to include, but feel free to mix it up and add your own (such as baby clams and scallops).

Why I love this recipe

The fresh seafood bring me back to the summer air of the Mediterranean. Every bite a memory. More seafood recipes you will love: Trottole Pasta Recipe with Tomato Sauce and ShrimpOrzo Pasta with Shrimp, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and ArtichokesShrimp and Broccoli Pasta in Cream Sauce and Broccoli Pasta with Sausage Recipe (Italian). 

This meal  brings me to Italy even when I am hundreds of miles away. Bring this meal to your table and enjoy the rich tomato sauce and delicious taste of the sea! If you are short on time you may use store bought marinara sauce. 

Simple Ingredients for seafood pasta with red sauce 

  • Linguini pasta (or long pasta of choice)
  • Mussels
  • Shrimp 
  • Squid tentacles
  • Baby scallops 
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic 
  • Red pepper flakes + more to taste
  • Fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 batch sugo al pomodoro made in advance (or store bought marinara sauce of choice) 
  • Sea salt to taste

See recipe card for quantities. 

How to make fresh seafood pasta 

The process is fairly simple! Once you make it once you will want to make it for all your friends and family. 

  1. Heat a larges skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic. Stir quickly- do not to burn the garlic. Add the mussels and toss with a wooden spoon. Cook for about a minute (or until the clams start to open).
  2. Add the shrimp to the pan with the mussels and give it a stir. Cover and cook for another minute or so. The key is not to overcook the seafood. 
  3. Once all the mussels open and the shrimp is almost cooked, add the squid tentacles. Cook another minute or so until they curl up. Add the baby scallops and cook for about 1-2 minutes more. 
  4. Warm up the sugo al pomodoro sauce large in a saucepan. Pour the sauce over the seafood and toss gently. Set aside.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup pasta water.
  6. Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the seafood and toss to coat in the sauce. Add a little bit of the reserved pasta water if needed.

Transfer your seafood spaghetti to a serving platter, drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with the parsley. Eat hot and enjoy! 

How Long to Cook Seafood

The seafood ingredients in this recipe cook at different rates. Here are some guidelines for cooking times. You don’t want to overcook your seafood! 

  • Shrimp 2-3 minutes 
  • Scallops 3 minutes 
  • Squid 2-3 minutes
  • Mussels 3-4 minutes ( done once the shells have opened)

Buying and Storing Mussels 

When buying mussels, look for ones with tightly closed shells. They should smell fresh and briny, like the ocean. 

Ask your fishmonger to pack the shellfish on ice, then transfer them to a breathable (not airtight) container when you get home.

I recommend a large bowl covered with a damp dishtowel or paper towel, then storing it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.

Seafood pasta on a white plate and platter with silverware.

How to clean Shellfish

  • Mussels and clams, if you are also using clams require some special handling. You want to get live shellfish from the store. I don’t mind using previously frozen shrimp and scallops for this recipe, but mussels and clams taste much better fresh for this recipe.
  • Once home, toss any mussels that have opened. They are no longer safe to eat. Store mussels or clams in the refrigerator before you are ready to cook with them.
  • When you are ready to cook clams or mussels, place them in a bowl of ice water for about 20 minutes. This allows all the shellfish to expel any sand that may have accumulated. Remove the clams or mussels from the water and discard the sandy water.
  • Next, remove the beard, those fuzzy seaweed shrubs that you may find on the side of the mussels. You can use kitchen scissors or simply pull on them by hand.

Then scrub the mussels or clams with a brush under cold water to remove dirt. That’s it. This is the most difficult part of this seafood pasta recipe.

How to clean and devein shrimp 

  • The black “vein” below the flesh of the shrimp that runs along the spine is actually the shrimp’s digestive tract. While it’s not harmful to eat, if the tract is really pronounced it can be unsightly.  In general, I like to remove it.
  • To remove the black “vein” use a small sharp knife to make a tiny slit along the middle back of the shrimp.
  • Insert your knife under the “vein” and use your fingers to carefully pull the vein out.
  • Thoroughly rinse your shrimp in cold water and set aside to dry on a towel.
  • Make sure the shrimp has expelled all of its water and pat the shrimp dry to cook.
  • The black, slimy “vein” below the flesh of the shrimp is actually the shrimp’s digestive tract.

What pasta works with this recipe?

For seafood pasta I recommend long pasta such as spaghetti, linguini, or even homemade pappardelle.   

Variations

While the mussels are steaming you can add a splash of wine: sauvignon blanc, 
pinot grigio, dry white wine to add a little more flavor to the broth. 

Do Italians eat cheese on seafood pasta?

If you are going to ask about the heated debate of adding cheese to seafood pasta- I am a purest on the subject- just no!

I love creativity and mixing up traditional dishes, but not when it comes to mixing seafood and parmigiano.

Eat this one pure and enjoy a taste of the sea at home. This seafood spaghetti is fresher and better than your favorite Italian restaurant!

This recipe is the perfect way to enjoy fresh seafood. Make it for dinner tonight and impress your guests the next time you host a dinner party. 

Other Recipes for YOU:

Lemon Ricotta and Caper Pasta 

Creamy Shrimp and Broccoli Pasta

Orzo Pasta with Shrimp, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Artichokes

Lemon Asparagus Ricotta Pasta- 20 minute meal

Malloreddus alla Campidanese

Octopus Salad

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sseafood pasta with red sauce on a plate

Spaghetti Frutti di Mare (Seafood Pasta)

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5 from 3 reviews

A very popular dish meaning ” fruits of the sea “- the ultimate spaghetti Frutti di Mare recipe, made with mussels, squid, and shrimp in a thick red tomato sauce.

  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 lb mussels cleaned well
  • 1 lb wild shrimp peeled
  • 1/2 lb squid tentacles
  • 1/2 lb baby scallops
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes + more to taste
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • 3/4 lb spaghetti
  • 1 batch sugo al pomodoro made in advance
  • sea salt to taste
  • Crusty bread for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat a larges skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic. Stir quickly- do not to burn the garlic. Add the mussels and toss with a wooden spoon. Cook for about a minute (or until the clams start to open).
  2. Add the shrimp to the pan with the mussels and give it a stir. Cover and cook for another minute or so. The key is not to overcook the seafood. 
  3. Once all the mussels open and the shrimp is almost cooked, add the squid tentacles. Cook another minute or so until they curl up. Add the baby scallops and cook for about 1-2 minutes more. 
  4. Warm up the sugo al pomodoro sauce in a saucepan. Pour the sauce over the seafood and toss gently. Set aside.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup pasta water. Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the seafood and toss to coat in the sauce. Add a little bit of the reserved pasta water if needed. 
  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 15 minuted
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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4 Comments

  1. This is a recipe for success, – but the difference between good and great really depends on the ingredients. It has happened a few times that fresh mussels we bought had a “muddy” taste, while the frozen mussels we have tried have been excellent. The take-home message for me has been to try the recipe a few times to find the best ingredients.






    1. I completely agree the quality of ingredients truly matter in making this “restaurant worthy” seafood pasta dish.