Spaghetti with Clams

Almost all of the alcohol will boil off from the wine in this recipe as you cook it, leaving just the flavor. If you want to sub the wine for something else, you can just add water with a teaspoon or two of lemon juice.

Do all of the prep work while the water is coming to a boil.

  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3 to 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) spaghetti pasta (can up to 3/4 pound of pasta if needed)
  • Salt for pasta water
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced (about a heaping tablespoon)
  • Pinch of red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 6-ounce cans minced clams (including the liquid)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

1 Heat salted water, do prep: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (1 Tbsp of salt for every 2 quarts of water). While the water is heating, prep the garlic, lemon zest, and parsley.

2 Cook the spaghetti: Add the spaghetti to the boiling water, set your timer for 2 minutes less than the recommended time (so you can be assured that you are cooking the pasta al dente).

Cook the spaghetti uncovered in vigorously boiling water. While the spaghetti cooks, prepare the clam sauce.

dry spaghetti noodles in pot with water boiling spaghetti pasta in water

3 Sauté garlic, chile flakes: Heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and the red chili pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute, until the garlic just is on the edge of browning.

saute garlic and chili flakes to make clam sauce for spaghetti

4 Add wine, clam juice, reduce: Add the white wine to the pan. Open the cans of clams and squeeze out the clam juice from the cans into the pan as well.

add clam juice to pan to make sauce for spaghetti

Raise the temperature to high and let boil sauce the sauce reduces as the spaghetti cooks. (Put pan on largest burner on high heat to help the sauce reduce more quickly.)

5 Add chopped clams, parsley, lemon zest: About the same time the spaghetti is finishing its cooking, the sauce should be reduced by about two-thirds. There should be about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of liquid still in the pan.

Add the chopped clams, and return to a simmer. Then stir in the minced parsley and the lemon zest.

add chopped clams to clam juice to make clam sauce add parsley and lemon zest to clam sauce

6 Toss cooked spaghetti with the clam sauce: When the pasta is done to the point of al dente (cooked but still a little firm when you bite), drain it and place it in a serving bowl. Pour the sauce over the spaghetti and toss to combine. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serve with a little more fresh parsley sprinkled over the top. Serve immediately.