Calamarata with Octopus Heads and Clams


In my last post I wrote about Octopus alla Luciana, which would be the 2nd course of this pasta. Of course you would eat the octopus after the pasta, but you need to prepare it first in order to make the sauce for the pasta, hence the order of the posts. This is very typical in Italian cooking, especially in Naples, where you prepare the meat or the fish and use the sauce for the pasta, I think that it is brilliant. It not only saves time, it saves money and you never end up throwing anything away, because whatever is left over can then be made into something else. My Dutch-Jewish mother is squealing over this, and so am I!

sugo del polipopots on the stove

You could just use the tomatoes sauce that the octopus was cooked in, but my mother-in-law decided to dress it up a bit with clams and she cut off the heads of the octopus and threw them in the pasta sauce as well to add some texture. She had already steamed the clams with olive oil and garlic to open them up and remove them from their shells and set them aside. This could also be served with the shells, though anytime she has ever made pasta e vongole, she has always removed the shells and leaves only a few for looks.

octopus heads

The clams were prepared the same way that they would have been prepared for pasta e vongole.

  • 1 lb fresh small clams in shells
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup of dry white wine

Heat olive oil over medium flame in a deep saute pan with a lid and add whole cloves of garlic. When the garlic starts to simmer add the clams and the wine. Cover and cook, shaking the pan periodically, until all the clams are opened, about 7 minutes. Discard any that have not opened.

clams and octopus heads

Calamarata with Octopus Heads and Clams

Calamarata is a type of pasta that you can usually only find in Naples and at some specialty stores, the name comes from the shape which resembles calamari rings, it is generally only served with a seafood sauce.

  • 4 abundant spoonfuls of sauce from Octopus alla Luciana
  • Prepared clams and their sauce
  • heads of the octopus
  • 1/4 cup of chopped pasrley
  • 1/2 lb of calamarata pasta (any long pasta would also work well with this sauce)
  • small handful of salt for pasta water

Fill a large pot with water for the pasta. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, add sauce from the octopus, the octopus heads and the clams in their sauce. Since everything has already been cooked, it is a matter of heating the sauce and mixing it together to put over the pasta, it doesn’t need to be on the flame for very long.

Once the water starts to boil for the pasta add a small handful of salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.

When the pasta is perfectly al dente, turn up the heat on the sauce and drain the pasta. Without shaking all of the water out of the colander pour the pasta into the pan and toss it with the sauce. This allows for the pasta to cook a little longer in the sauce and to absorb the flavor. Once the pasta is well tossed and off of the flame, toss with chopped parsley and serve.


~ by italicious on December 14, 2008.

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