Recipe: Trofie Pasta with Seafood Marinara (video)

I found this simple but delicious recipe (and video), featuring Druv Baker from Delicious Magazine in the UK, for trofie pasta with seafood marinara and wanted to share it with you right away.

Personally, I'm not usually a big fan of red sauce and seafood as I find the sauce tends to overwhelm the delicate flavors of the seafood. However, this recipe gets it right!

In America, we think of marinara as a simple red sauce, but in Italy, marinara actually means
"of the sea" or "in the style of the mariners" and references a dish that includes seafood. Fresh, right-off-the dock squid, prawns (shrimp) and small clams are used here (mahogany or little necks would be perfect) but you could easily substitute scallops, mussels, a firm white fish like haddock, even lobster. ff


Never heard of trofie pasta? (Me either, to be honest! I had to look it up.) Trofie pasta is a small, rolled pasta that is ideal with seafood sauces as it holds the sauce well and is easy to eat. Longer shapes like fettuccine and spaghetti can be a challenge to roll with seafood. If you can't find trofie pasta, try fusili, gemelli or cavatappi (corkscrews) to catch the sauce.

Photo: trofie pasta

The secret to this dish - and all seafood dishes - is to not overcook the seafood. One of the reasons I selected this video for you is because the cooked seafood is removed before preparing the final sauce. One of my pet peeves is when pasta recipes call for simmering after the seafood has been cooked. That's a guarantee of shoe leather seafood - especially with squid and clams. Yuck.

Once the seafood is cooked and removed, a very small amount of prepared tomato sauce is added to the seafood liquour (the briny liquid left over from cooking the seafood) and, when reduced, brings out a sweet, subtle richness that works well with the delicate flavors.

And no cheese! Italians never add cheese to seafood pasta dishes. It's just not done. The flavors of the fresh seafood are so subtle and succulent that a strong cheese like Parmesan or Romano would overwhelm them. A handful of fresh-chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley and a squeeze of lemon is all you need.

See the TIP below on how to clean the squid.

If you don't want to do the prep work yourself, ask your seafood vendor to help you out or look for already cleaned products.
Buon appetito!

Recipe: Trofie Pasta with Seafood Marinara

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 for dinner, 6 for lunch, 8 as a starter

Recipe: Trofie Pasta with Seafood Marinara

A luscious, simple and delicious seafood pasta dish with just a touch of tomato sauce to add sweetness and flavor. This dish can be on the table in 15 minutes if the seafood is prepped ahead. Ask your seafood vendor to help!


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 12 raw king prawns (clean, deveined large shrimp)
  • 4 baby squid (about 170g), cleaned and sliced (see tip)
  • 350g clams (about 12-15 mahogany or little neck clams)
  • 125ml dry white wine (1/2 cup of good drinking wine)
  • 2 heaped tbsp Sacla’ Fresh Cherry Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce or similar
  • 1 lb. Trofie Pasta or similar
  • Squeeze of lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
  • Handful of fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, rough chopped


  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  2. While the water is heating...Heat the olive oil in a pan and gently fry the onion for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
  3. Tip in the prawns and squid and cook for a couple of minutes until the prawns begin to turn pink. Pour in the wine, add the clams, and cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until the clams have opened.
  4. Strain the seafood, reserving the liquid, and set aside.
  5. When the pasta water is at a rolling boil, add a heaping handful of salt and drop in the pasta. Stir often to prevent sticking.
  6. Cook according to package directions minus one minute or until al dente (still firm).
  7. While the pasta is cooking...Return the reserved seafood liquour (liquid) to the pan through a sieve, then add the tomato sauce and cook for a 4-5 minutes.
  8. Reserve a cup of the starchy pasta water and set aside.
  9. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce in the pan.
  10. Stir the sauce through the pasta, adding a bit of the reserved pasta water a little bit at a time to form a velvety sauce.
  11. Add the seafood to the pan and gently combine. Add a good squeeze of lemon and a handful of chopped fresh parsley and serve.


Dhruv’s tip: “Once you’ve cleaned your squid (see, open out each of the bodies and cut into three. With a sharp knife, score each of the pieces with a very fine cross hatch. When cooked this will curl up appealingly. “

See the original recipe for Pasta Marinara here.

TIP: how to clean squid.

Visit the Sacla website here.

List of Pasta shapes

Trofie pasta photo credit: veethakur via photopin cc

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