1 lb large (21-25 count) shrimp, peeled and de-veined
9 or 10 large plum tomatoes – divided
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp red pepper flakes, more of less to taste
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
splash of white wine
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped, more for garnish
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped, more for garnish
½ tbsp marjoram
2 tbsp capers
Bring a large pot of water to boil. While waiting, use a paring knife to cut a small “X” into the bottom of each tomato. Once the water boils, place the scored tomatoes into the water and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and place in a bowl of ice water. Once cooled to touch, peel each, beginning at its “X”, before quartering and seeding it. Place aside.
Take about ⅔ of the tomatoes and coarsely chop into chunks. Puree the rest of the tomatoes using a food processor, blender, or stick blender.
Heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan over med-high heat. Add the pepper flakes and, after a minute, add the onions. Sauté until translucent.
Add the garlic and continue sautéing for about a minute more. Add a splash of white wine and reduce for a minute or two.
Add all the tomatoes, season with salt & pepper, and maintain a medium simmer.
Begin heating the water for your pasta. The calamarata pasta that I prepared needed 16 minutes to cook. Check your package’s instructions.
When there are 5 minutes to go, add the parsley, basil, & marjoram to the frying pan, stir, and then add the mussels to the sauce and place a cover on the pan.
3 minutes later, add the shrimp and replace the cover.
If you prefer to serve the mussels shelled, see Notes below.
At the 5 minute mark, reserve some pasta water, drain the pasta and add it to the sauce pan. Add the capers and mix to evenly coat the pasta.
Pour the calamarata into a serving bowl, garnish with torn basil & parsley leaves, and serve.
As always, be sure to reserve some pasta water in case your sauce needs it. Be aware, though, that the mussels will give off some flavorful liquid during the cooking process. You may not need as much pasta water as you think.
Once the shrimp have been in the sauce for about a minute, I remove the pan’s cover and begin removing the mussels from their shells. I usually leave a few in the shell just for presentation in the final dish. Once all are removed, it is far easier to stir the sauce to insure the shrimp are evenly cooked on both sides.
I usually drain and add the pasta to the sauce when the shrimp are just shy of being fully cooked. They will finish cooking when mixed with the hot pasta and this will insure that neither shrimp nor mussels are over-cooked and chewy when served.
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