Thursday, January 27, 2011

Capellini with Mussels & Clams in Rich Saffron Broth

Capellini with Mussels & Clams in Rich Saffron Broth
Dinner for 2

My son has always loved clams with pasta or in chowder and he doesn’t mind if they come from a can but we both prefer them fresh and flavorful right out of the shell. We were Italy when Andrew was first served clams and mussels in there shells; he was pretty young. I was worried that he wouldn’t want the fish once he saw it in its natural form but boy was I wrong because he dug right in and loved it.

Live clams and mussels straight from the fish market allow me to whip up a special dinner quickly on a weeknight. There’s something about seeing the pile of empty shells grow as we each create our own bowl of seafood pasta. Sometimes we eat them one by one and the brothy pasta is our satisfying finish and other nights we empty every shell before we dig into the seafood, pasta and broth combination.  Make sure you have a spoon to get every sip of the yummy broth. Crispy crostini or a chewy bread like Acme Sweet Batard are also great ways to soak up the broth.

Pinch of saffron
2 cups seafood or chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, minced
2 teaspoons tomato paste or 1 grated roma tomato
18 dozen clams, scrubbed
18 mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
1/3 cup crème fraiche

2 oz. angel hair pasta, prepared following package instructions.

Warm the broth in the microwave, mix in the saffron and allow it to steep while the seafood is cleaned and the shallots cook.

Melt butter over medium heat in pan or pot with a lid that is large enough to hold the broth and seafood.  Add the shallots to the butter and sauté until softened then add tomato, broth and saffron. Bring the broth to a simmer. Add the seafood, cover and simmer until all the clams and mussels open, 7-10 minutes. Once most of the clams and mussels have opened discard any that haven’t opened and assemble pasta

Divide the pasta between two deep wide pasta or soup bowls, top each serving of pasta with half the clams and mussels. Whisk the crème fraiche into the broth over high heat until combined and heated. Pour the broth over the clams, mussels and pasta.