Clammering for Clams

There’s nothing like a bowl of good clam chowder. My first taste of one was at Whitey’s in the mid-1970s, when I moved here to take a job with the newspaper. I think it was served on Fridays.

It was then that I developed an affinity for clams. I’d never really eaten them before but now do when the opportunity arises.

I particularily like pastas with clam sauce. Recently, Therese and I shared a dish of linguine with clam sauce at Mamma Maria’s in East Grand Forks. We also ordered an antipasta appetizer to go along with the entree, which allowed us to take some home for lunch the next day.

The antipasta was pretty good, although maybe a little heavy on the vinegar. However, the linguine with clam sauce was outstanding. It contained a generous amount of clams, which were not overcooked.

I’m thinking of making my own clam-pasta dish soon, perhaps to serve to some guests. Here is what I’ve decided to make.

White Clam Spaghetti Sauce
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled, finely chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 6-ounce can chopped clams, undrained
¼ cup warm water
¼ cup chopped parsley, or more to taste
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper
6 ounces spaghetti or linguine, cooked al dente according to package directions
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
In a skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 to 1½ minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside for about 2 minutes. Add the clams with their juices and the water. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the parsley, salt, oregano and black pepper. Continue cooking to heat the sauce.
Drain the spaghetti and place portions in individual pasta bowls. Pour the sauce over it and toss to lightly coat. Rearrange the clams to set atop the spaghetti and serve. Offer the Parmesan cheese on the side, if desired.
Yield: Serves 2 (generous main-dish portions).
Cook’s note: The recipe may be doubled or even tripled to serve more. Add garlic and parsley to your own taste.