Wednesday, May 7, 2014
My kids love pastas and noodles. This Spaghetti with Fresh Clams in White Wine Sauce is by far the most request pasta dish in our house. The only reason why I'm not cooking it once a week was because I need to get live fresh clams for this dish. Otherwise, you bet I would. Yes, it said white wine sauce. But don't worry, it's only a small amount and the alcohol will evaporate off in the cooking process.
I love preparing different pastas for the kids as they are generally faster cooking than Chinese cuisine. This dish is definitely a fast cooking one. The only time consuming step is the wait time. You might wonder what wait time? Well, I'm referring to soaking the clams in cold water along with a tablespoon of flour so that the live clams will spit out all the sands. This is an important step so you don't get sandy clams in your pasta. So, I usually get the clams early in the morning or even the day before so they are ready when you're ready to cook.
I also included some important tips in cooking with live clams in the recipe below. If you came across any question, feel free to ask me in the comment session below.
If you plan to make this dish, just make sure you get live clams and not frozen ones because they'll make all the difference in the world. The natural sweetness from the fresh clams is simply amazing! So, if you're getting bored with your tomato based pasta at home, give this recipe a try. I'm sure you and your family will love it.
Props used in this post:
Core Bamboo 3-Piece Cutlery Set (Click here to see product information)
Wood Print Photography Backdrop (Click here to see similar product)
Core Bamboo Cutting Board (Click here to see product information)
Gourmet Setting Flatware Treble (Click here to see product information)
Spaghetti with Clams in White Wine Sauce:
1 pound spaghetti (I used dried ones this time)
4 to 6 quarts of water (for cooking pasta)
1 tablespoon of sea salt (for cooking pasta)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 medium size shallots, finely diced
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, or you can cut it down to 1/8 tsp if preparing for kids)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cup seafood stock (you can get it from your fish monger, or use bottled clam juice from the market. I made by own by boiling water with shrimp shells and heads)
3 pounds live clams, washed and clean*** (I've got Nuttallia obscurata, also known as Purple Varnish Clams, as you can see the purple color from the inside of the clams. You can substitute with manila clams as well)
kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley
lemon wedges for garnish (optional)
In a large pot, bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a boil, add the sea salt and stir in the spaghetti. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions, deduct 1 minute of cook time to achieve the texture of a little shy from al dente (a.k.a. still have a bite to it).
While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a large skillet (with fitted lid), heat over high heat and add the olive oil. Sauté the shallots and garlic together until fragrant and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until the liquid reduced by half. Then, add the seafood stock and clams. Cover and cook until the clams open up.
I usually remove the clams that are opened and place them in a large bowl so they don’t overcooked. Some might take longer than the rest. If some of the clams didn't open, give them a slight tap and they usually will. Toss out any clams that do not open at all. Those are probably dead and not safe for consumption.
When all the clams are cooked and removed from the pan, continue to cook the sauce until the liquid reduced by half. While the sauce is cooking, reserve 1/4 of the clams in the shells for garnish. Remove the clam meats from the remaining clams, set aside and discard the shells.
Then, toss in cooked spaghetti, clam meats, and cook for a minute. Then season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
Place spaghetti on serving plates and garnish the sides with reserved clams in shells and a wedge of lemon. Serve hot and enjoy!
*** Amy’s Tips: To remove the sands from the clams, submerge the clams in a large bowl of cold water, covered by an inch. Stir in a tablespoon of all purpose flour and wait for 2 hours. The clams will spit out all the sands. Then, brush the outer shells with a toothbrush or food brush. Toss out any open clams that do not close up when you press it. Those are the dead ones and not suitable for consumption.