The Ultimate Shellfish Spaghetti

Brimming with seafood, this easy pasta has one big time-saving, store-bought secret.

 Prep Time: 25 mins Total Time: 35 mins Servings: 8 servings

This shellfish spaghetti recipe is abundant with a medley of seafood. It’s a match made in heaven for seafood lovers or if you’re looking for what to serve for a Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner on Christas Eve. A mixture of clams, mussels, and shrimp is steamed in white wine and then the flavorful cooking liquid is stirred together with, yes, store-bought marinara sauce.

The pre-made marinara helps to keep this recipe quick and easy, yet it still tastes special and homemade because it’s infused with the flavors of the seafood cooking liquid. The sauce is finished with a couple of tablespoons of butter which helps it cling to the spaghetti perfectly.

Clams can be very sandy and gritty. Before cooking, soak clams in a bowl of very cold salted water for at least 20 to 30 minutes or up to 3 hours to encourage them to spit out the sand.


  • Kosher salt, for pasta water
  • 16 oz spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc)
  • 1 lb littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 2 lb mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined tail-on extra-large raw shrimp
  • 24oz. jar marinara sauce
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and crushed red pepper (optional), for topping


  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain spaghetti and return it to pot.

  2. Meanwhile, bring wine to a simmer in a large pot. Add clams, mussels, and shrimp, in that order. Cover and steam over medium-low until shrimp are opaque and clams and mussels are open, 9 to 10 minutes. (Remove shrimp if it is cooked through before clams and mussels open.)

  3. Transfer shrimp to a medium bowl. Transfer clams and mussels to a large bowl. Remove about half of mussels and clams from their shells and set aside. Discard shells.

  4. If cooking liquid looks gritty, pour it into a liquid measuring cup; let stand for 2 minutes. Wipe pot clean. Slowly pour liquid back into pot, leaving about 2 tablespoons liquid and solids behind.

  5. Stir marinara sauce into cooking liquid in pot. Bring to a simmer over medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

  6. Add cooked spaghetti, shrimp, and shelled clams and mussels to the sauce; toss to coat. Add clams and mussels in their shells and toss gently. Serve immediately, topped with parsley and (if desired) crushed red pepper.

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