A fat pinch of saffron (30-36 threads)
2 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 small bulb fennel, quartered, cored and very thinly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, grated
2 ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 large fresh bay leaf
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth, divided
1 can Italian DOP San Marzano tomatoes (28 ounces), crushed by hand
1 1/2 pounds Manila clams or cockles
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails left on
8-10 calamari (squid), sliced 1 inch thick
1 pound bucatini or perciatelli pasta
1 pound cooked lobster or crabmeat
1 lemon, juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a small pot, steep the saffron in the stock over medium heat while you make the sauce.
In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the leek, fennel, onion, carrot, celery, thyme, bay leaf, crushed red pepper and half the garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, 8-10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup wine and simmer for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a bubble. Add the saffron stock and let the sauce simmer while you cook the seafood.
In a large, deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the clams, shrimp, squid and the remaining garlic; season. Cover and cook until the clams open, shaking the pan occasionally, 5-7 minutes.
When the water comes to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the starchy cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot.
Add the remaining 1/2 cup wine and the lobster to the seafood mixture; douse with the lemon juice. Toss the seafood and half the sauce into the pasta, adding reserved starchy cooking water, as needed, if dry. Transfer the pasta to bowls. Top with a little more sauce and pass the remaining sauce at the table.