What is spaghetti allo scoglio?
Spaghetti allo scoglio – also known as spaghetti ai frutti di mare – comes from Italy’s illustrious canon of seafood spaghetti recipes, which includes spaghetti alle vongole and spaghetti alla busara. Popular across Italy, pasta allo scoglio features a medley of different seafood, typically involving (but not limited to) clams, mussels, squid and prawns. Use whatever seafood you have access to – cuttlefish, baby octopus and shrimp would all be wonderful additions or swaps.
The name allo scoglio refers to a traditional way of cooking seafood pasta once employed by canny Italian fishermen. Scogli is the word Italians use for rocks found close to the shoreline, and fishermen would chuck these small rocks into the cooking pot with the clams, mussels and other seafood. The scogli would bang around and help to detach the ‘rock creatures’ that were still alive, before being removed and pasta added to the sauce. In English then, spaghetti allo scoglio therefore roughly means ‘spaghetti of the rock’.
Rather than tasting anything like rocks, spaghetti allo scoglio is packed with the true essence of the sea; not in any way fishy, but instead rich with the briny, bracing flavour of the Mediterranean. Adding ripe cherry tomatoes, a splash of white wine and plenty of garlic and chilli makes for a deliciously messy, flavour-packed sauce, ideally suited to tangles of fresh or dried spaghetti.
Our spaghetti allo scoglio recipe
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Calories per serving: 622 kcal
- 500g fresh spaghetti, or 400g dried (linguine or scialatielli would also be suitable)
- 250g squid
- 300g clams (in their shells)
- 200g mussels (in their shells)
- 150g prawns (shelled)
- 250g cherry tomatoes
- 25g fresh flat leaf parsley
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 red chilli, or a generous pinch dried red chilli flakes
- 175ml dry white wine
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Salt, to taste
Step 1: Prepare your seafood
- Soak the clams in lightly salted, lukewarm water for 30 minutes, then drain and rinse, straining off any sand and grit that’s leached from the clams.
- Rinse and scrub the mussels, pulling away the hairy beards.
- Clean and trim the squid, then cut it into rings.
- Peel the prawns, removing the head and the black vein that runs along the middle of each prawn’s back.
Step 2: Prepare your other ingredients
- Halve the cherry tomatoes.
- Finely chop the parsley.
- Peel and finely slice the garlic cloves.
- If you’re using a fresh chilli, deseed and dice it.
- Measure out a medium glass of wine, around 175ml (plus one for yourself, if you’re so inclined).
Step 3: Let’s cook
- Put a large pan of water on to boil for your pasta.
- Warm the olive oil and garlic in a large frying pan over a low heat, cooking gently so as not to burn the garlic. Once fragrant, add the chilli and cook for a minute more.
- Add the wine, turn the heat up to medium and add all of the seafood, letting everything cook away happily for a couple of minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and continue to cook, stirring regularly, until the clam and mussel shells open (remove and discard any that don’t).
- While the seafood sauce bubbles away, salt your pasta water and, once it comes back to the boil, add your pasta. If using fresh, cook for 3-4 minutes, for dried, aim for 2 minutes less than the packet instructions.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving some pasta water. Add the spaghetti to the pan of seafood sauce, along with the parsley and a ladle of pasta cooking water, then cook for a final minute, swishing and swirling everything together.
- Check the seasoning, then divide between bowls and enjoy. Buon appetito!