1 cup dry white wine, more if necessary
30 fresh clams, scrubbed
30 fresh mussels, scrubbed and bearded
30 medium to large shrimp, shelled and
deveined, tails on (for a heartier dish, use more shrimp)
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 pound uncooked capellini (angel-hair pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil, more if necessary
1 small red bell pepper, roasted and cut into long strips
2 cups good quality pitted black olives, halved
2 cups diced and drained red tomatoes (about 4 medium red tomatoes)
1 cup diced and drained yellow tomatoes (about 2 medium yellow tomatoes)
1/2 cup capers, drained
1 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus 8 or more whole basil leaves for garnish
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
If you have never bearded a fresh mussel, now is the time to learn. The beard is a tuft of black threads at the hinge of the shell. You can pull them out with pliers or grasp them between your thumb and the blade of a paring knife and pull.
Bring the wine to a boil in a large saucepan. Add clams, cover, and steam for about 2 minutes. Agitate pan to toss them around and ensure even cooking. Add mussels, cover, and steam for another 2 minutes. Remove shellfish as their shells open so they don’t overcook; discard any that do not open. Reserve wine from cooking. Refrigerate clams and mussels in their shells until chilled. Add more wine to pan if necessary and cook shrimp uncovered over high heat until pink, about 30 to 60 seconds. Remove and chill.
Put balsamic vinegar in a medium saucepan and reduce by half over medium-high heat. Cover and chill until ready to use.
Cook pasta, rinse, drain, toss with olive oil, and chill.
To serve, toss together pasta, red bell pepper, olives, tomatoes, capers, 1/2 cup of the pine nuts, and chopped basil, adding more olive oil if necessary. Add balsamic vinegar and lightly toss again. Transfer to platters or bowls, crumble feta on top, and arrange seafood around edge. Garnish with remaining pine nuts and basil leaves. Serves 6 as an entrée.
For a lighter, simpler recipe, omit the seafood and the wine. The results are just as tasty.