Shellfish with Chipotle and Tequila

Talk about a terrific dinner for a hot summer night! This was our choice for our monthly dinner with Jim, and the reviews were extremely favorable. We adapted it slightly from a recipe by Gordon Katz in the July 2008 issue of Cooking Light, transforming it from a soup to a pasta dish. The chipotle chile was an excellent foil for the sweetness of the sea scallops, and the shrimp and clams brought home the seafood theme. Many flavors were present, but one of my favorite aspects of the dish was the use of turmeric, which gave it a golden glow similar to saffron. The heat of the chipotle was well-evident, but we paired it with a Chateau de Maligny Chablis Premier Cru 2005, which gave a welcome relief. Don’t be afraid of the ingredient list, this was well worth the effort!


  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 1 large)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped seeded chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 24 littleneck clams
  • 1/2 pound sea scallops
  • 1/2 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions


Heat olive oil in Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Add yellow onion, bell pepper, black pepper and salt to pan; saute 5 minutes or until tender.  Add garlic; saute 2 minutes.  Add 1-3/4 cups water and next 10 ingredients (through chicken broth) to pan.  Reduce heat to low, and simmer 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Arrange clams in steamer.  Cover and steam over boiling water 8 minutes or until shells open.  Discard any unopened shells; set aside.

Add scallops and shrimp to tomato mixture; cook 7 minutes or just until done.

Cook pasta in lightly salted water, until al dente.  Drain and return to cooking pot.  Use ladle to add 2 cups of tomato mixture liquid to the pasta.  Cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly until the cooking liquid has combined with the starch from the pasta to create a creamy sauce.  Remove from heat.  Divide pasta equally among four pasta bowls.  Divide tomato mixture evenly among the four bowls; top each bowl with 6 clams, 1 tablespoon cilantro and 1  tablespoon green onions.

Yield: 4 servings

Calories 462 (10% from fat); Fat 5g; Protein 45.1g; Carb 59.2g


3 Responses to Shellfish with Chipotle and Tequila

  1. T. Killya says:

    I love tasting, comparing and discovering fine unknown Tequila brands. I recently came across a great site, with information and videos on how to properly taste Agave spirits in order to determine your own preference. They showcase six different Family Brands from different distilleries around the Tequila Appellation area. Apparently there are many traditional family Tequila brands that have only recently begun to export outside of their villages.

  2. Cathy says:

    I thought this dish was delicious and so pretty to look at! The spicy sauce and seafood are such good partners together. I love the fact that you added pasta to this meal which made it a bit more “Italian” to me. The wine was fabulous and helped cool my mouth due to the spiciness of the sauce. A great summer meal to enjoy out on the deck!

  3. sister2u says:

    Looks like a bot hacked your blog since you mentioned the word “tequila.” At least it’s not saying anything nasty. Just a sales pitch. The dish does look good, but one I won’t be making. WAY too many ingredients for my pantry and I’m not a big clam fan. Maybe I ate some bad ones at one time…lol.

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