Spaghetti with Shrimp, Clams, Chorizo and Saffron CitrusĀ Butter

January 27, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

We love seafood pasta in all forms, but when we, on a whim, added a bit of fresh chorizo, fragrant saffron, citrus zest and butter, it exceeded our expectations. It's a little like paella but better, because, well, there's pasta involved. —mariaraynal

Test Kitchen Notes

In this dressy seafood pasta, mariaraynal layers in all sorts of lovely ingredients -- the last minute splash of saffron citrus butter hits you first. If you'd like more to pass at the table, I'd suggest upping the butter and white wine amounts, which will free more of the seasonings to slide through the tangle of shrimp shells. —Kristen Miglore

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup Spanish onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup fennel, sliced thinly
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, minced
  • sea or kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 link fresh chorizo, casing removed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine, divided
  • 12 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 1.5 cups very good quality chopped frozen clams, defrosted (feel free to use whole clams in the shell if you have access to good ones)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • generous pinch saffron
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1.5 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt generously, add pasta and cook al dente, about 7 minutes. Test pasta, and when done, drain and reserve about a cup of pasta water.
  2. Meantime, heat a large skillet over medium, add olive oil, onion, fennel and cook, breaking up slices with the flat end of a wooden spatula or spoon. Add garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne and Old Bay.
  3. While vegetables are cooking, make saffron citrus butter. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium low heat. Add shrimp shells, saffron, citrus zest, 1/4 cup wine and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often, and adjust heat as needed.
  4. When vegetables are very soft, add chorizo. Brown, breaking it up into crumbles. When chorizo is nearly cooked through, add tomato paste and combine well. After a few moments, deglaze with 1/4 cup wine.
  5. Add shrimp to skillet, cook for a moment or two, then add clams and heat until shrimp turns pink. Strain saffron citrus butter. Toss al dente pasta into the skillet and combine well. Add pasta water if needed. Drizzle with saffron citrus butter and serve, passing extra butter at the table.
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I'm a self-trained home cook and freelance food writer who enjoys cooking and eating seasonally and locally whenever possible. When I travel, visiting the farmers' markets, local groceries and specialty food shops is as important as the shopping, museums and restaurants. I love to immerse myself in cookbooks, then go into the kitchen and experiment; and writing about food and the chefs who cook it is my latest pursuit. By day, I'm an executive speechwriter and event planner.

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