Pasta with white clam sauce

Shopping List:

  • ¾ bunch of Italian parsley
  • 3 big fat fresh garlic cloves
  • 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper sliced thin or dried red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup plus green fruity olive oil
  • 3 dozen little neck clams
  • ¾ lb of linguine fini or spaghettini
  • 3lbs steamer clams to make broth***

What & how to do it:you will cook this pasta like a risotto

To make this pasta dish you will need: Heavy base stockpot works best A pot of homemade clam broth (or store bought) warming on the side Soak the clams for a couple of hours to let the clams discard their sand, scrub the shells to get as clean as possible.

Garlic & parsley, chili peppers: Chop these 2 ingredients up to a medium mince. If the garlic is too small it will burn so don't chop it too finely. Slice the hot pepper you intend to use as well, and set all aside on your cutting board until you are ready to assemble.

Coat the bottom of your heavy base stockpot with approximately ¼ cup of oil, more to taste, as you like it. Heat it the oil on medium low heat being careful not to over heat the oil or it will burn the garlic &parsley. Once the oil is heated, saute the G&P and slices of hot pepper (per your taste) or sprinkle in the red pepper flakes (per your taste). Saute this mixture until just before golden while the garlic is translucent, you'll know it's time to add the clams when you smell a great garlicky aroma in the kitchen.

Add in the cleaned soaked clams shells and all, cover the pot tightly and steam, this can take approximately 20 minutes on medium heat . Turn the heat off after the clams open, let them sit just a moment and then take the clams out of the pot and put into a bowl to let cool.

The clams will have released their salty briny liquid into the pot and this is the broth you will cook the pasta in. I call this broth liquid gold!

Once the clams cool down remove the clam meat and discard the shells, hold to the side.

Break the pasta in half and put into the clam broth that is in your heated pot now that the clams have been removed. Cook and keep separating the strands of pasta, approach this like you are cooking a risotto, keep the pasta moving so it doesn't stick together.

Don't let it dry up or it will burn at the bottom of your pot, keep the liquid moving around while the pasta absorbs it. Keep the liquid flowing, keep the pasta moving. You will need more broth than your clams gave you, supplement with the warm clam both you have holding on the side. Taste a strand every once in a while until it is finished to the al dente point of your choosing. Add the clams just before the end and toss in to the pasta and mix it all well.

Optional: add a pat of butter at the end to add a glisteny silkyness to the dish. The pasta with clams should have their own salty-briny flavor so I don't usually need to add extra salt; but if you want you can add a pinch of sea salt. You can also add some freshly chopped Italian parsley.

***Homemade clam broth:

Put 3lbs of "steamer" clams in a pot, it does not need to be a heavy base pot, it can be a standard stainless steel pot, add in enough water to cover 1/3 of the clams, cover and steam until they open. Take the clams out of the broth and strain the both using cheesecloth. You can eat the steamers, they are great! We do it all the time and I store the broth in the freezer for making the pasta with clam sauce recipe.

Jane Taylor