In loving memory of John’s grandma Mary, with help from his brother Tommy and Italian Food Forever
One of the best things about getting married is gaining new traditions. Some you make up yourself – like the extravagant Christmas dinner date John and I go on every year in lieu of gifts. Others you inherit – like the awesome traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner that we enjoy every year with John’s family. According to Wikipedia, the Feast of the Seven Fishes is a play off of the Catholic tendency to abstain from meat on holy days, although the exact details and history are fairly unknown. Regardless of the official meaning, the tradition has become a beautiful way for John’s family to pay tribute to his grandma Mary. I’m sad to say that I never experienced her version of this delicious meal, but luckily she trained John’s brother Tommy well and these days he carries on the tradition. This seafood marinara is the star of the show, and definitely worthy of more than one appearance a year. In fact, I think New Year’s Eve would be the perfect place to start!
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (we used Pinot Grigio)
- 1 1/2 cups seafood stock
- 1 28-oz can whole, peeled tomatoes (HIGHLY recommend the San Marzano variety)
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- crushed red pepper, to taste
- 1/2 lb bay scallops
- 1/2 lb squid, cleaned and chopped
- 20 mussels, cleaned (you should let them sit in a bowl of water for 20 minutes so the sand can fall to the bottom)
- 12 large shrimp, peeled and cut into 2-3 pieces
- pasta, for serving
- Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook one more minute, until fragrant.
- Add wine and fish stock and bring to a boil.
- Add tomatoes (including the liquid they are canned in), parsley, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Mash up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a rapid simmer over about medium-low. Cook, uncovered, for 90 minutes. The sauce should become much thicker and more concentrated.
- Add scallops, shrimp and squid to the sauce. Simmer until shrimp turn pink, just a few minutes.
- Add mussels and cover. Cook until mussels open, just a few more minutes.
- Serve over pasta.