When I saw a 20 minute seafood pasta dish on the BBC Good Food website I thought it was probably too good to be true and the first time I cooked it, it was. It was just so bland. The texture of the pasta and seafood was nice though, so I gave it another go, substituting paprika with smoked paprika and adding wine, extra lemon juice and a pinch of saffron. My second attempt was much better and this is now a favourite, cooked at least once every few weeks.
The saffron is optional as it's horribly expensive but the wine and smoked paprika are a must. In the comments on the original recipe some people cooked the spaghetti separately rather than in the sauce as they were nervous about the spaghetti not cooking through. The sauce starts out very liquid because of the stock but the spaghetti then cooks to a perfect al-dente texture and it absorbs all the flavours from the tomatoes, wine and paprika. Cooking it separately only results in creating more washing up.
I tend to use a mixture of prawns and squid; whatever is in the freezer. The premixed bags of seafood that come from the supermarket are good if a bit expensive but this is a lovely dish and if cooking for two you'll only need to use half the bag for one meal.
If I have a pepper in the fridge I'll slice and char it on a griddle pan and add it with the seafood towards the end but the dish is fine without. Sometimes I add frozen peas but they're also optional.
It's a bit greedy of me but as this dish is somewhat "soupy" I usually serve it with a few slices of toasted ciabatta or garlic bread to mop up the sauce at the end.
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
- small glass white wine or dry vermouth
- ½ to 1 tsp smoked paprika (dependent on taste)
- a pinch saffron threads (optional)
- 200g chopped tomatoes
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 180g frozen seafood mix
- Sliced, chargrilled pepper or handful of frozen peas
- juice of lemon
- lemon wedges
- 1 handful chopped parsley
- salt and black pepper
- Place a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat and add the olive oil.
- Add the onions and fry for 5 minutes then add the garlic.
- When the garlic starts to colour add the wine and allow to bubble for a few minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, stock, smoked paprika and saffron (if using).
- When the stock has come to a boil add the spaghetti to the pan and allow to cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the spaghetti doesn't stick together. If the sauce struggles to coat the spaghetti add a little more water.
- After the 7 minutes are up, add the frozen seafood, lemon juice and veg (if using) and cook for another three to four minutes.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Add chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.