I grew up eating big family dinners on Sundays. It was my mom’s way of centering us around the table and ushering in the coming week.

As an adult (and mom), I’ve continued the tradition. We eat big roasts and homey desserts most Sunday evenings. It’s the calm center before our workweek storm.

But yesterday slipped away from us. I don’t know if it was the birthday party the little boy went to, the cold I was fighting or the seduction of all those football games, but dinnertime arrived with nary a preparation in sight.

The boys clamored for pizza.

I thought of pasta.

I had a pound of spaghetti in the pantry. Some arugula in the fridge. Garlic and olive oil on the counter. And a package of Trader Joe’s “Seafood Medley” in the freezer. Surely those few ingredients could produce something Sunday-worthy.

They did. We dined on pasta drenched in a garlic- and red pepper-studded olive oil sauce with wilted arugula and sauteed shrimp, scallops and calamari rings. A sprinkling of feta cheese (found lolling in the cheese drawer) topped it off.

It wasn’t a roast. But it was special enough for Sunday.

Sunday-Worthy Seafood Pasta

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 package frozen assorted seafood, thawed (I like Trader Joe’s “Seafood Medley.” If you decide to make this dish at the last minute, place the package of frozen seafood in a bowl of cold water to thaw. It will take about 30 minutes.)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 5-6 ounces fresh arugula
  • Crumbled feta cheese

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti according to package directions. As it cooks, prepare the rest of the dish:

seafood dryingDrain the seafood, then place it on a dish towel to thoroughly dry.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and heat over a medium-high flame. Carefully add the seafood, being sure it lies in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper, then saute for about five minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the seafood from the pan and place it in a clean bowl. Set it aside.

Reheat the cooking liquid that remains in your saute pan, then add the 1/2 cup of olive oil and the butter.

Melt and heat until simmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for 30 seconds.

Add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Transfer a couple of spoonfuls to the bowl holding the seafood and stir.

seafood dish1By this time your spaghetti should be done. Drain it, then return it to its cooking pot. Pour in the garlic, lemon and olive oil sauce and add the arugula. Toss until the arugula is wilted and the pasta is thoroughly coated with the sauce.

Turn out onto a platter. Top with the seafood and sprinkle with feta cheese.


So I’ve decided to implode my Thanksgiving menuย and start from scratch. First change: Fresh veggies sans the creamy sauces. I’m thinking mustard-glazed carrots, roasted cauliflower and green beans dressed with a touch of soy. Maybe last year’s broccoli rabe for good measure. It’s a small change, but it’s a start!