Spaghetti allo Scoglio – Frutti di Mare – Fresh Seafood Pasta

Still talking about being in the Puglia – Apulia region (see previous Puglia articles), there’s a dish that many may not have heard of but are quite familiar with – Spaghetti allo Scoglio (literally: rock/reef) but often known as Spaghetti ai frutti di mare – “fruits of the sea.”

This is usually one of the more expensive dishes in an Italian restaurant, and when you see how many different, fresh pieces come together, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s worth it! My mother-in-law makes this with fresh homemade spaghetti “troccoli” and her Troccolli allo Scoglio have won over many a seafood lover.

We were at a friend’s countryside “house” – a house that is big enough to be functional for important things like sleeping and eating, but more important is what surrounds this little house. Mere meters from the sea and surrounded by olive trees on all sides, it has a huge patio and grill for frequent gatherings. A big group was getting together for no reason at all, and eating a big, homemade meal was the focus!

Since we were in a town on the sea, they procured all the fresh ingredients from the local fisherman, even if the fishermen themselves had to go far to get it! Many parts of the Mediterranean close to the coast are “fished out” and the fisherman have to go further to meet demand. Some even go as far as Croatia.

As you read this, I want you to think – do you like to make Spaghetti ai frutti di mare? Do you use fresh seafood every time? What additions/special touches do you make to the recipe at your house? And, most importantly, do you suck the heads of the crawfish, or throw them away?

Spaghetti allo Scoglio – ai frutti di mare – Fresh Seafood Pasta

Recipe from Master Chef Tommaso, serves 4

500g clams (vongole)
500g mussels (cozze)
400g prawns (scampi), with heads removed
400g crawfish (gamberoni)
300g squid (calamari), cut into rings
70-100g tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic
parsley, bunch chopped
basil, bunch
5T. olive oil
Hot pepper (optional)

  1. Boil the clams and mussels, separately, to open them. Strain and conserve the cooking water. Notes on preparing fresh shellfish: Soak the clams in fresh water for 6-8 hours to clean beforehand, and clean outside of mussels first. Here are some good step-by-step instructions for cleaning clams/mussels.
  2. Clams for Spaghetti allo Scoglio

  3. In another (very large) frying pan, brown the garlic cloves in the oil, and add the tomato sauce (not too much because you just want to give it a little color, not make it a red sauce), then the calmari and some of the fresh parsley. Cook for 20 minutes, adding water if it becomes too dry.
  4. Prawns & Crawfish for Spaghetti allo Scoglio

  5. Add the mussels, clams and some of the water from step 1. After 5 minutes, add the scampi and crawfish, using more of the water to keep it liquid and cook for 10 minutes. Start your water to boil the pasta.
  6. Spaghetti allo Scoglio on the burner

  7. Add two large handfuls of fresh parsley and hot pepper if desired. Boil pasta and drain 2 minutes before the recommended cooking time. Add drained pasta to the seafood mix, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Serve hot.

Spaghetti allo Scoglio - ai Frutti di Mare

You can scale this up for a large party – as you can see, there were lots of us there that night!

Spaghetti allo Scoglio ready for consumption!

So…do you suck the heads or not? How do you make this dish?

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  1. says

    I suck heads (this is awful to write)

    first: too many stuff
    second: for pasta moscardini and not squids
    third: you can use a variety of almost 10 herbs
    fourth: best seafruits pasta is made of

    spaghetti-tartufi, clams, mussels and if u want add cicale (dunno english term), not gamberoni (too sweet, gamberi claims too much salt)

    the recipe is secret :)

  2. Giulia says

    “So…do you suck the heads or not?”

    That’s it, I’m flagging you for vulgarity! LMAO j/k

    If I were at that party, I would have gladly eaten the contents of all four of those pans. *drools*
    Everytime I make spaghetti con vongole, I simmer the vongole straight in a butter, olive oil and wine sauce and never drain the juice. I think it takes away from the flavor if you boil seperately and drain.

  3. says

    Oh Sara! Do you have any idea how unfair you are being to those of us in the states who cannot get this kind of seafood?!!! My mouth is watering as I can taste the incredible quality and sweetness of the best seafood in the world. Excuse me while I wipe my chin. :-)

  4. says

    As for the crawfish, I’d never added them, so I guess I can avoid the embarrassment/profanity of explaining what I do with them. ;) Otherwise, your recipe is like my mom’s, which is the way I make it. Though I usually add white wine too.

    This past weekend I made a mussel dish with fennel and anise flavored liquer which was lovely too.

  5. Ms. Adventures in Italy says

    Oops….I honestly *honestly* wasn’t try to be vulgar…but there you go. I just saw that there are two distinct camps regarding the crawfish heads!

  6. obijie oru says

    im not italian…. so this will be my first, im gonna try this out, this weekend, then if i get it right, im going to serve it at a dinner party

  7. Cajun Remoulade says

    Suck the heads? No thanks. The dish does look tasty though. I think the head sucking comment turned my stomach a little, so i will wait to make this dish. Not tonight, that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing though

  8. Roberto says

    Absolutely my favorite pasta recipe!, I used to cook it every weekend, unfortunately I’m now living in Norway and I miss some ingredients (without squids is not the same :( )

  9. Anne says

    Never made it .. would be expensive in the Uk .. that is why I love going to Italy .. I have all the dishes that I don’t have in England.. .. I eat fish as much as I can when there. :-) and Pasta :-)

  10. trentiuk says

    i was there.good taste and good feeling….and… i’vd sukued heads too…’cause ther’s no pleasure if you dont do it.
    hi sara.

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