Even if you’re completely hopeless at cooking, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. This seafood pasta recipe is a versatile dish that will please both adults and children (come on, who doesn’t love pasta?), and it takes only about 20 minutes. Bon Appetit’s recipe is fool-proof (we’ve tested it) but here are some tips to elevate the dish. Cos it’s the small details that make a good dish great.
1. Don’t skip the tomato paste
Some people might think that it’s a waste to buy a whole can of tomato paste just to use a tablespoon or two in a sauce. And you’re already using a ton of canned tomatoes to make the sauce, right? But tomato paste truly makes a huge difference. Tomato paste is concentrated and intense, and when added to a sauce or stew, adds body and an umami punch. Also, canned tomatoes on their own can be too acidic – the sweetness of tomato paste helps to balance that out, giving you a well-rounded sauce. Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian suggests browning your tomato paste to further boost the flavour.
2. Go with fresh seafood
It’s not that we live by a rigid “Fresh is always better” mantra (who has the time to hit the markets everyday to get fresh produce?). But when it comes to seafood, using fresh seafood really produces a far more superior sauce. For one, this pasta sauce isn’t just all about the tomatoes. The other main component that makes this dish is the natural sweet and briny flavours of the seafood. That’s what gives your seafood pasta depth and nuance, and prevents it from tasting flat and one-dimensional.
Frozen shellfish in particular have to be partially cooked (that’s why they usually come in half shells) but in that process, they lose the water they hold inside the shells. That water is that briny flavour that makes shellfish so amazing in the first place.
Ah Hua Kelong is a local fish farm located off Changi and Sembawang. The guys behind here are obsessed with supplying only the freshest local seafood. This means raising the fish on live feed and giving them the time to naturally grow into size. What’s more impressive is their home delivery system.
Whatever gets delivered straight to your doorstep is harvested on the morning of the delivery so it really is as fresh as seafood gets.
There are interesting options such as XL clams, XL cockles (each one can be as big as the size of your palm), pearl grouper and flower crabs, but for this pasta dish, you can’t go wrong with their mussels and clams.
3. Fresh pasta isn’t always better
Fresh pasta being the superior option is a huge misconception. Even Italians don’t have the time to make fresh pasta on a daily basis! Dried pasta has a more toothsome quality, which goes well with seafood based sauces. Just make sure that you salt the water you cook your pasta in – it seasons your pasta from inside out. And when the pasta’s cooked, do not rinse it in water. The starch around the pasta after it’s cooked helps the sauce to adhere better. And that’s essentially what good pasta should be – well-coated strands, much like a well-dressed salad should be.
So there you have it! Three easy tips to take this seafood pasta recipe to the next level. Try it out and let us know what you think!
You know what goes beautifully with pasta? A glass of wine. Find out where to get affordable craft alcohol in SG here.