Spaghetti with Clams

Spaghetti with Clams
Staff Writer
Spaghetti with Clams
Matthew Septimus

Spaghetti with Clams

This is a classic dish of spaghetti dressed with clams steamed in white wine, seasoned with garlic and red pepper flakes.

Traditionally, this dish is made with small clams (about the size of an adult fingernail), served in the shell. Any variety of small clam, such as New Zealand cockles or Manila clams, will work; the latter are particularly nice because they are plump.

The best method for cleaning clams is to soak them in cold, salted (sea-like) water for up to an hour so that they expel any grit.

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4
Servings
171
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 30 Manila or other variety of small clams (about 2 1/2 pounds), scrubbed and soaked
  • Coarse salt, to taste
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced crosswise into very thin rounds
  • Pinch of red chile pepper flakes
  • 5 Ounces spaghetti
  • 1/4 Cup plus 2 teaspoons dry white wine
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

Directions

Place the clams in a bowl and add salted water to cover. Let stand for 10 minutes or up to 1 hour to allow the clams to expel any sand and grit contained in the shells. Lift the clams out of the water, leaving the sand in the bowl, and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

Combine the oil and garlic in a saucepan over low heat and cook to warm the garlic and infuse the oil. Do not allow the garlic to take on color. After 1-2 minutes, add the red chile pepper flakes.

Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving about 2 cups of the pasta cooking water.

Add the clams, wine, and pinch of salt to the pan with the garlic. Cover the pan and cook, shaking gently every now and then, just until the clams open, 1-2 minutes. Remove the clams to a bowl and set aside.

Add the spaghetti to the saucepan, adding a little of the pasta cooking water to emulsify. Continue cooking until the spaghetti is tender but al dente, about 3 more minutes. Stir in the parsley and add the clams back to the pan to rewarm in the sauce. (The pasta should not be soupy but some emulsified sauce will pool on the plate.) Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
12g
17%
Sugar
2g
2%
Saturated Fat
9g
38%
Cholesterol
1mg
0%
Carbohydrate, by difference
14g
11%
Protein
3g
7%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
2mg
3%
Calcium, Ca
31mg
3%
Fiber, total dietary
1g
4%
Iron, Fe
1mg
6%
Sodium, Na
267mg
18%
Water
4g
0%

Spaghetti Shopping Tip

Italian food is about simplicity and letting the ingredients shine. So make sure you get ingredients that are great quality and flavor. Farmers markets and specialty stores will have great produce and products. Just be sure to have some great olive oil.

Spaghetti Cooking Tip

Unlike other highly regarded cuisines, Italian cooking is usually simple to make with many dishes having only 4 to 8 ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.

Spaghetti Wine Pairing

Cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec, mourvèdre, Rhône blends, zinfandel, petite sirah, nero d'avola, primitivo, sangiovese, or carménère with meat- or tomato-based sauces; grenache or chardonnay with cream-based sauces; pinot gris/grigio, albariño, or other fresh white wines (for instance, soave, Italian sauvignon, or grillo) with seafood pasta; nebbiolo, dolcetto, or barbera with most non-seafood pasta.