Wendyl's Seafood Spaghetti

, from Issue #111. September, 2023
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Wendyl's Seafood Spaghetti

I was inspired by so many parts of Wendyl’s interview – her penchant for seafood, love of Ponsonby classic SPQR and even a vodka martini with olives!

Serves: 2


300 grams spaghetti or linguine
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 raw king prawns, unpeeled
6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1⁄2 teaspoon chilli flakes
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup vodka
2 tablespoons tomato paste
300 grams clams
300 grams mussels, de-bearded and well-scrubbed
1 squid tube, sliced
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
8 green olives, pitted

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
sea salt and black pepper
crusty bread, optional


Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and reserve 3 tablespoons of the pasta water. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pasta, stir through and set aside in the colander.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the prawns and fry for a few minutes over a high heat on both sides until pink and curled in, then set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the garlic and cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes.

Add the chilli flakes, lemon zest, vodka, tomato paste, clams, mussels and squid then cover and cook for about 5 minutes until the shellfish have opened. Discard any that don’t open during this time.

Add the tomatoes and olives, drained pasta and the reserved pasta water and toss together over the heat for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat.

TO SERVE: Stir through the chopped parsley. Divide the pasta and shellfish between plates. Season with sea salt and black pepper, drizzle over the remaining extra-virgin olive oil and serve with crusty bread, if desired.

If you'd like to read our interview with Wendyl Nissen that led to the creation of this recipe, click here.