We all have our simple food pleasures. Spaghetti with Clams can be found on virtually any Italian menu in the country. Variations on the dish can be subtle but make all the difference. Every year at Nick’s cousin’s Christmas Eve party, Spaghetti with Clams is served as part of the delicious buffet for 50+ people. Every year I devour it. Second, third helpings. I discovered that the recipe is a well-kept family secret, and one that I’m not yet privy to. (Gerome family–this is my official BEG. I’m begging!) So I tried my best to recreate here for you. If the family does bless me with the exact recipe, I’ll be sure to share it here.
Spaghetti with Clams
- 1 pound dried spaghetti, I like Barilla Plus for added nutrients and fiber
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 pounds of littleneck clams, well rinsed of sand and grit
- 1 bottle of clam juice
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped, plus 1/4 cup chopped reserved
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons butter
- White pepper
- Chili Flakes
1. Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to instructions. You’ll want to prepare pasta to a perfect al dente, as it will continue cooking for a minute or two in the sauce.
2. While the pot of water is coming to a boil, heat the olive oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic until just starting to brown. Add the white wine and let simmer until some of the alcohol evaporates. Add the bottle of clam juice, littleneck clams, cover and allow clams to steam until open. Shake the pan a bit to help distribute the heat. Clams should open in 6-10 minutes. If any do not open, discard them. Remove the lid and set the opened clams aside.
3. Add the al dente pasta to the broth/garlic mixture in the saute pan. Add the 1/2 cup chopped parsley, season with white pepper and chili flakes, and stir over medium heat until the broth mixture thickens and sticks to the pasta. Add salt if needed but be careful as the clam juice may be heavily salted already.
4. Distribute the pasta into 6 serving bowls and distribute the cooked clams accordingly. Garnish with remaining fresh parsley. Serve.