Bob's Clam Pasta Recipe
When in Italy, you can order Spaghetti con Vongole Veraci, which features sweet tiny clams no bigger than a quarter. Generally, clams this small aren’t available in America, but you can still make a great dish with those that are. I prefer littleneck clams, which you can find in large groceries, such as Kroger’s and Costco. You can buy them by the dozen or in bags of 50 clams. They are a bit expensive, but you are worth it. You can use a mixture of types of clams, if you like.
This recipe is for one pound of pasta. It can be reduced proportionately but don’t use fewer than 30 clams; the dish needs the juice the clams will put out as they cook. Keep the clams cool until you get ready to cook; at home, the fridge is fine. They’re best used the day you buy them. Normally, clams are fairly clean when you buy them, but I still like to scrub them in a bowl of cold water or under running water.
This recipe calls for the clams to be served in their shells. A community bowl on the table is handy for discarding the shells.
1 T salt
1 lb. DeCecco spaghetti or linguine
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
2 T Italian parsley, chopped, divided
1 pinch red pepper flakes, optional
4 dozen littleneck clams
salt, to taste
1/3 c white wine
1 T butter
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 T salt and return to a boil. Add the pasta, stirring occasionally. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet that has a lid. Add the garlic; when it sizzles add 1 T parsley and the pepper flakes, if using. Add the clams and salt (to taste). Stir to cover the clams with oil. Add the wine and let it sizzle for about a minute; the alcohol will evaporate. Cover the skillet and cook until the clams open. Keep the lid on and turn off the heat. When the pasta is halfway done, use a slotted spoon to transfer the clams to a bowl. Discard any that didn’t open. Cover the bowl to keep the clams warm. When the pasta is almost al dente, drain it and add it and the butter to the skillet; turn the heat to medium-high. Continuously toss the pasta until it’s absorb all of the clam juice. (This is not a “saucy” dish.) Put the pasta on a large platter, pour the clams over it and garnish with remaining parsley. (No cheese, please.)