When I was living in Brooklyn, I would often meet friends at one of the many, many Italian restaurants on Smith Street in Cobble Hill for dinner. Once I discovered fra diavolo sauce, it was the only thing I ever ordered—the simple, spicy tomato sauce goes so well with shellfish. Actually, the sauce is very good without the shellfish, too for a vegan or vegetarian option.

3 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. tomato paste
½ cup dry white wine
2 15-oz. cans (800g.) crushed tomatoes
1 cup water or shellfish broth (mussels/clams/shrimp)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. (or more or less) red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh sage, optional
1 ½ lb.(750 g.) cooked mussels, shelled; 2 lb. cooked clams, shelled ‘or 1 lb. cooked shrimp, peeled
12 oz. cooked spaghetti

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, and sauté 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and tomato paste, and sauté 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and cook 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients, then season with salt and pepper. Cover, and simmer over medium-low heat 30 minutes. Stir in the shellfish, if using, then add 12 oz. cooked spaghetti, and toss to coat. Serve immediately, or use to stuff winter squash or mini-pumpkins.