EXCLUSIVE DISH: Daniel’s Seafood Fra Diavolo

At Apex mainstay Daniel’s Restaurant & Catering, winner of this year’s Best Italian Restaurant Maggy Award, the Seafood Fra Diavolo dish has appeared on the menu ever since the restaurant opened at its original location on Chapel Hill Road in Cary back in 1993.

For less than $20, shellfish lovers can get their fill of fresh shrimp, clams, mussels and calamari.

“It’s one of my favorite entrées,” said proprietor Daniel Perry duringan exclusive photo shoot with Cary Magazine.

The term “fra diavolo” in Italian means “brother’s devil” and references the spicy sauce that’s typically prepared with tomato sauce and served with linguini pasta.

“The mussels are Prince Edward Island (variety) from Canada and the clams are sourced off the coast of North Carolina,” said Perry.

The recipe provided here is based on one serving at the restaurant, but it could easily be shared.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper for mild; up to 1 tablespoon for spicy
2 ounces dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon Tri Mix Seasoning (recipe below)
1/4 pound dry pasta such as linguine
3 fresh littleneck or cherrystone clams, cleaned
12 mussels, cleaned
7 shrimp, deveined, shelled and tail left on
1/2 cup sliced calamari (squid)
3/4 cup homemade or jarred marinara sauce (avoid sweeter varieties)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley

1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
Mix and store in dry place.

Bring large pot of water to boil; add about 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Add pasta, stirring to ensure it does not stick together. Cook to al dente with the goal to have pasta ready when sauce is done.

Heat large sauté pan over high heat. Add olive oil, crushed red pepper and garlic. Stir constantly so garlic does not burn. This will take less than one minute. When garlic starts to take on a bit of color, add clams, white wine and Tri Mix, and sauté for about two minutes.

Add mussels, calamari and marinara sauce and cover. Let cook for about three minutes.

Add shrimp, cover and cook until mussels have opened (about two more minutes).

Discard any unopened clams or mussels.

Place cooked pasta in bowl and arrange shellfish and shrimp over pasta. Pour remaining sauce over pasta. Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley and serve.

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