Seafood Pasta Red Flags You Should Never Ignore, According To Joe Bastianich - Exclusive

If pasta — as Joe Bastianich once proclaimed to Runner's World — is the single food he cannot live without, very few pasta dishes will beat a good seafood pasta in the mind of the "MasterChef" judge. "MasterChef" contenders seeking to become one of few who have ever succeeded in wowing the critic on the culinary competition, beware: Like many seafood dishes, the line between fit for the altar of the flying spaghetti monster and fit for the trashbin is thin.

Bastianich exclusively told Mashed that an excellently cooked, dry pasta with seafood — for example, "Pomodoro sauce with clam linguini" — has the power to take his breath away. He also gave us a list of three red flags that'll make him turn back such a dish without trying it. "If the sauce is not emulsified, if there's not enough starch, if, like in a linguini and clams, it's too watery," Bastianich told Mashed, he won't taste the seafood pasta in front of him. "It's a very delicate balancing act [where] you need to know what you're doing."

Joe Bastianich's seafood Pomodoro tips

Want to make a Joe Bastianich-approved seafood pasta? Get the basics right first. Avoid the three faux pas of pasta cooking that Joe Bastainich once exclusively enumerated to Mashed: "not enough salt in the water, rinsing the pasta with water afterwards, not cooking the pasta with the sauce."

To make a seafood Pomodoro that Bastianich might make at home, prepare your tomato base first. Follow the recipe that the restaurateur once gave to Today and sauté crushed garlic in olive oil with hand-squeezed tomatoes for 45 minutes. Then, heed the seafood tips the "Master Chef" judge gave Runner's World. First, don't overcook your seafood additives before they hit your tomato sauce, as they'll cook again once added to the Pomodoro. Second, if adding more than one seafood to the dish — say, mussels, shrimp, clams, scallops, or all of the above — use the same pan to pre-cook them. That way, no seafood flavor will go to waste.