This is a regional dish par excellence, and perfect for a Friday night supper. Everywhere you go along the coastline of Italy it will be offered to you in some form or another, perhaps with cozze e vongole (mussels and clams), patelle (limpets) and moscardini (baby octopus), scallops, squid, and/or a combination of all of them. The name of the dish may vary too, but basically it is pasta ai frutti di mare – seafood pasta.

Serves 4
400g linguine
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sauce
500g mussels
250g prawns
6 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
red chilli, finely sliced
50ml white wine
juice of 1 lemon
a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

For the sauce, clean the mussels well, scrubbing them in cold water, and removing the beards. If any remain open after tapping them against the side of the work surface, discard them. Peel the prawns, removing the heads but leaving the tails intact.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and add the garlic and chilli. After a minute or two, add the mussels and the wine. Put the lid on and continue cooking until the mussels open, a few minutes only. If any remain closed at the end of cooking, discard them.

Add the prawns and cook for a further 4–5 minutes, turning them. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Take off the heat and add the roughly chopped parsley. Season to taste.

Meanwhile, cook the linguine in lightly salted boiling water until al dente, about 7–8 minutes. Add to the pan with the shellfish sauce, mix together well and serve immediately.