Under the Sea Pasta

A delicious, easy pasta with mussels, clams, and tons of lemon!

I came up with this amazing seafood pasta dish for Disney Dinners: The Little Mermaid but trust me when I say: I will be making this again and again. This dish is as easy as it is delicious – and beautiful! I used a mix of clams and mussels (but you could certainly use one or the other if you prefer) cooked in wine, shallots, and a generous amount of garlic. Set the shellfish aside, add some butter, lemon juice and zest, and herbs to the sauce and toss the pasta with it. It’s deceptively delicious. You think, okay, this is so simple. But it has so much flavor!

Pasta with Mussels Clams | The Little Mermaid Dinner Party Recipe

This would particularly great to make during citrus season when lemons are at their prime. The pasta is positively bursting with fresh lemon flavor. The zest really makes this dish sing so don’t leave it out. As for the pasta, I used Fusilli col Buco since I served it at Disney Dinners: The Little Mermaid and thought these noodles looked reminiscent of Ursula’s tentacles but you could of course use spaghetti, angel hair, or bucatini if you prefer. If you ever see this pasta, though, please try it. It’s amazing!

Pasta with Mussels Clams | The Little Mermaid Dinner Party Recipe

Pasta with Mussels Clams | The Little Mermaid Dinner Party Recipe
Put the lid on and let steam

The noodle looks so casual under the shellfish, you might wonder if they even have a sauce but if you look closely here, you’ll see that the noodles are coated with the most amazing shallot/garlic/wine/lemon sauce. Just look how glossy the noodles are!

Pasta with Mussels Clams | The Little Mermaid Dinner Party Recipe
Remove shellfish, finish the sauce, and toss with pasta

This quite possibly Mama Rose Table’s new favorite dish. I asked her to come over for recipe testing and she quite literally raved about this pasta for over twenty minutes. I thought she might even burst into song! Her exact words were, “Eating this, I feel like I’m back in San Francisco!” Quite a compliment I thought she is in fact from the Bay area. I really cannot say enough good things about this dish. Are you ready to dive in?

Pasta with Mussels Clams | The Little Mermaid Dinner Party Recipe

Note: This dish feeds a ton; easily six people. The photos actually only show half the shellfish. I put the rest on the plates so as to not cover up the pasta in my little pasta bowl.

Pasta with Mussels Clams | The Little Mermaid Dinner Party Recipe

Under the Sea Pasta
1 pound Fussili Col Buco (or pasta of your choice)
3 lbs mix of clams and mussels (I did 2 lbs mussels, 1 pound clams)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley and 1 Tbsp fresh oregano
2 large lemons (or 4 small)

  1. Prep the clams/mussels by rinsing them under cold water, discarding any that are open or cracked, and debearding them. Leave them in a colander while you make the pasta.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions until almost al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water then drain pasta and set aside. 
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Cook shallots over medium heat until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add mussels and clams. Cover and cook just until shellfish have opened, 6-10 minutes. (Note: large clams may take a few minutes longer than the mussels.)
  4. Carefully transfer mussels and clams to a bowl and set aside. (Discard any shellfish that have not opened.)
  5. Simmer the liquid until reduced by half. Add butter and allow it melt into the sauce. Then add juice and zest from a large lemon, salt, pepper, chopped parsley, and 1/4 cup pasta water. Give that a whisk, then add pasta and use tongs to stir the pasta for two minutes to thicken the sauce. Add remaining pasta water if needed.
  6. Slice the second lemon into wedges. Transfer pasta to a platter and top with shellfish. Serve with lemon wedges.

Read more about Disney Dinners: The Little Mermaid here. Watch The Little Mermaid episode of The Rose Table here: 

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