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Angela's Italian and Sicilian Recipes
Spaghetti with Seafood
Spaghetti with Seafood
(Spaghetti ai Frutti di Mare)
For the Octopus:
2 lbs cleaned frozen octopus, thawed and rinsed
2 cups water
1/2 California bay leaf

For the Tomato Sauce:
1 (14 to 15 ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the Basil Puree:
3/4 cup packed basil leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

For the Seafood and Pasta:
1 lb spaghetti
6 garlic cloves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb large shrimp in shell, peeled, leaving tail fan attached, and deveined
3/4 lb cultivated mussels, rinsed
3/4 lb baby squid, cleaned, bodies cut into 1/4-inch rounds, and tentacles left whole
Prepare the Octopus:
Put octopus in a pressure cooker with water, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and seal pressure cooker with lid, then cook at high pressure according to manufacturer's instructions 10 minutes.

Put pressure cooker in sink (do not remove lid) and run cold water over lid until pressure goes down completely. Remove lid.
Transfer octopus to a cutting board, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
Cut off and discard head, then cut tentacles into 1-inch pieces.

Prepare the Tomato Sauce:
Simmer tomatoes with their juice, basil, and olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, uncovered, stirring and mashing tomatoes occasionally, until thick and reduced to about 3/4 cup, 20 to 25 minutes.

Prepare the Basil Puree:
Puree basil, olive oil, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender, scraping down side as necessary, until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl.

Prepare the Pasta and Seafood:
Cook spaghetti in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until 'al dente'.

Meanwhile, puree garlic and olive oil in cleaned blender until smooth.

Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over high heat until hot, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add olive oil mixture, then immediately add octopus, shrimp, and mussels and saute, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are browned on edges and mussels begin to open, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add tomato sauce and reserved octopus-cooking liquid and cook, stirring, until mussels just open wide and shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes more (discard any unopened mussels). Season with salt and pepper.

Drain pasta and return to pot.

Add squid to hot seafood in skillet, stirring to combine, then add to hot pasta and toss to combine (squid will cook as it is being tossed).
Serve drizzled with all of basil puree. Serves 6.

Notes: If you do not have a pressure cooker, octopus can be simmered in a 4-quart pot with bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 4 cups water, covered, turning occasionally, until tender, 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours.

Octopus can be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled, uncovered, until cool, then covered.

Tomato sauce can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
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