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cheese on seafood pasta?

I thought the Italian custom was never to add cheese to seafood pastas. However, at a friend's Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes that I was lucky enough to be invited to, the hosts of Sicilian descent eagerly added grated cheese to capellini with calamari in a tomato sauce.

So: is no-cheese-with-seafood-pasta not as strict a rule as I thought? Or is cheese sometimes served with certain seafoods, or in certain regions of Italy, or in certain contexts?

I appreciate that a totally valid response is to do what you think tastes best, but I'm asking the question in order to understand what people's traditions are.

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  1. we never add cheese to seafood. there are people in my family who think tuna melts shouldn't even have cheese! lol

    2 Replies
    1. re: eLizard

      It's not a Tuna Melt with out the cheese! The cheese is what makes a Tuna Melt a Tuna *Melt* because you melt the cheese on the tuna... A Tuna Melt without the cheese is just a warmed tuna fish sandwich! lol.

      1. re: AlexandriaSteelheart

        correction....there are people in my family who think tuna melts should not exist! and the idea of warm mayonaise sends them over the edge.

    2. I'm not Italian for starters, but here's my thought. Hard cheese tends to be strongly flavored, of course. The thought is (as you know) seafood in it's delicate-ness is sometimes over-powered by this. As much as I love squid and octopus, etc. (it is one of my favorite seafood items), it can be rather... well, bland. Especially in a pasta dish with other flavors, I think it can benefit from a flavoring of some sort, whether that be a marinade, or just some smoky grilled flavor and salt. The cheese on the calamari dish is probably warranted and did not do too much in the way of over-powering the food. After all, we're not talking about lobster ;-)

      1. I am of Italian descent. and this Christmas Eve, a lobster w linguini dish was served. and I noticed the new-schoolers,such as myself and my parents, added Parmegian, and the Old schoolers, like my grandparents passed on the cheese.. It is an older rule not to add cheese to any seafood dish,albiet a good one..But i cant help it!

        1. My family is form Naples and Bari. Usually with a fish-tomato sauce we pass on the cheese, but we tend to like it on linguine w/clam sauce. A friend of mine from Sicily said it's not considered correct but that people use it if they like it at home.

          1. my family was very strict about the no cheese policy, and i still get a little squirmy when i see things like seafood lasagna or shrimp alfredo. any kind of cream or cheese just blows the fish out of the water, shall we say. overkill.