Frutti di Mare

Over the 92 year history of the Cape Playhouse many famous stars walked their stage. Stars like Humphrey Bogart, Ginger Rogers, Gregory Peck, Julie Harris, Lee Remick, and Bette Davis, to name just a few, appeared in the 20th century. One great actor who appeared at the Cape Playhouse in the 1958 production of “Holiday for Lovers” was Don Ameche.  His last hit movie was “Trading Places” with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in 1983.

While appearing at the Cape Playhouse, Don Ameche sampled many of the fine restaurants the Cape has to offer.  It is said that the one that he seemed to be his favorite in those years, was Rosie’s Restaurant in Dennis.  It was considered the “Little Italy” in Dennis. According to Christopher Setterlund’s book “Historic Restaurants of Cape Cod”, Rosie’s Restaurant was a part of the Cape’s restaurant scene for over 50 years.  We are not sure what he ordered at Rosie’s but it was said that his favorite meal was Frutti di Mare (“Fruit of the Sea”).  Here is a recipe for Frutti di Mare that we think would please Don Ameche.

Fruitti di Mare
serves 4 – 6

30 mussels
30 Little Neck clams
1/2 lb. medium shrimp, shelled & deveined
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 Tbsp. dry white wine
6 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
14 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
1 lb. linguini fini
1/4 tsp. dried chili flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Scrub mussels and clams well in cold water, changing water several times to remove all sand.  For the mussels remove the little tuft of hair by pulling it out and discarding it (this is called “debearding” the mussels).

Place mussels and clams in a pan with a little water. Cover and cook over medium high heat for approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 2 minutes. Discard any clams or mussels that have not opened. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine strainer and set aside. Remove the meat from about two- thirds of mussels and calms, leaving the rest in their shells.

Heat a large skillet over medium -high heat and add the oil. Add the garlic and cook for few seconds. Stir in the white wine, the reserved cooking liquid, and 4 tablespoons of the parsley. Simmer briskly until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15- 20 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the linguini fini, and cook according to the package directions, or until tender but still firm. Once the sauce has thickened, add the mussels, clams, including those in their shells, and the shrimp. Season with chili flakes and salt and pepper. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring. Drain the pasta and serve in bowls. Add sauce and toss well. Sprinkle with a splash of oil and remaining parsley.

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