It’s almost Thanksgiving and we’re all about to pull our hair out, right?? But in the middle of all this madness, we still need to eat. So, I reached into my pantry today to make up a quick pasta dish using leftovers I had on hand. This Spicy Seafood Pasta with Tomato Butter Sauce is a hybrid of my Spicy Shrimp Tomato Pasta and 5-Ingredient Butter Tomato Sauce. Both of these recipes are great bases that can be customized to accommodate leftovers, like the 1/2 pound of frozen seafood mix from Trader Joe’s that I had in my freezer. :)
Spicy Seafood Pasta with Tomato Butter Sauce
What is “Frozen Seafood Mix”?
This frozen seafood mix is a combination of shrimp, scallops, and calamari that I got at Trader Joes, but I’ve recently seen a similar product at Aldi. It cooks up quickly in a skillet, straight from the freezer, which is super convenient. The liquid left in the skillet after the seafood cooks lends a light and fresh seafood flavor to the tomato butter sauce. If you can’t find a “seafood mix” you can do this with just shrimp.
Make it Spicy or Mild
I added a pinch of red pepper flakes for a kick, because I gotta have my red pepper, but you can leave that out and have a nice rich and mild tomato sauce instead.
I only used a half pound of pasta for this dish, so the four servings are 2oz. of pasta each. A lot of people find 2oz. to be on the small side so you can either use 12oz. of pasta total to up each serving to 3oz. or just make sure to serve this pasta with a nice salad and some garlic bread. And, if you have it, a wedge of lemon squeezed over top is always nice with seafood.
Spicy Seafood Pasta with Tomato Butter Sauce
- 4 Tbsp butter, divided ($0.44)
- 8 oz frozen seafood mix* ($4.00)
- 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
- 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes ($1.49)
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional) ($0.02)
- 8 oz fettuccine ( $0.50)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.03)
- Handful fresh parsley (optional garnish) ($0.20)
- Add 2 Tbsp butter to a large skillet and place over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and sizzling add the frozen seafood mix. Stir and cook until the shrimp have turned pink and opaque (3-5 minutes). Be careful not to overcook the seafood. It should still be soft and supple. Remove the seafood from the skillet to a clean bowl and set it aside.
- Mince the garlic and add it to the skillet with two additional tablespoons butter. Sauté the garlic in the butter and the juices from the seafood for 1-2 minutes, or just until it has softened and becomes very fragrant.
- Add the can of whole peeled tomatoes with their juices and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional). Use a spatula or spoon to break the tomatoes into pieces. Let the skillet come up to a simmer over medium heat, then turn the heat down to meidum-low. Continue to simmer the skillet, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Continue to break the tomatoes into smaller bits every time you stir.
- After simmering the sauce for about 15 minutes, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta in the boiling water for 7-10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander.
- Once the sauce is finished simmering, add 1/2 tsp of salt. Stir to combine, taste, and adjust the salt more if needed.
- Add the cooked seafood back to the skillet along with any juices that may have accumulated in the bowl. Also add the cooked and drained pasta. Toss the pasta and seafood in the sauce until everything is evenly coated. Top the pasta with a handful of chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
Step by Step Photos
Start by melting 2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is hot and sizzling, add 1/2 lb. of frozen seafood mix (shrimp, calamari, and scallops) to the skillet. Cook and stir the seafood until the shrimp turn pink and opaque. This doesn’t take long, about 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the seafood. Remove the seafood from the skillet to a clean bowl and set it aside.
There should be a considerable amount of liquid left in the skillet from the seafood (that’s all FLAVOR yay!). Add 2 Tbsp additional butter and 4 cloves minced garlic to the skillet. Cook the garlic in the butter for 1-2 minutes, or just until it softens a touch and starts to smell really good.
Add a 28oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes (with juices) and a 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes to the skillet. Break the tomatoes up with a spatula or spoon. Let the mixture come up to a simmer, then turn the heat down slightly and let it continue to simmer gently for 30 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally as it simmers, breaking the tomatoes up more as you go. The sauce may look a little white at first due to the seafood proteins, but it will change as it cooks. About 15 minutes into the simmer time, cook 1/2 lb. fettuccine according to the package directions.
After 30 minutes the tomatoes should have broken down quite a bit more and the sauce thickened up a bit. Season the sauce with 1/2 tsp salt. Taste and adjust the salt if needed.
After the sauce is seasoned and the pasta has been cooked and drained, add the cooked seafood back to the skillet with the sauce. Make sure to pour in any juices that may have accumulated in the bowl. That’s more flavor!
Add the cooked pasta, then toss everything together until the sauce evenly coats the pasta.
Sprinkle a little fresh chopped parsley over top to make it extra pretty!
Quick easy dinners are what I’m all about!