Yesterday I went to the beach to watch the sunset, and it happened to be low tide. I had planned to make a big pot of red sauce with spaghetti for dinner, but as I walked out onto the flats I saw the telltale marks of a clam bed, and within 5 minutes I had a dozen steamers. Dinner plans changed from a red sauce to a white wine and butter sauce with clams.
If you can get good clams, this dish is one of the simplest and tastiest meals you can whip up. It will take you 20 minutes, start to finish (not including the time it takes to dig the clams, of course!). Here I’ve used steamers, which I cooked first and chopped up. If you are buying clams, steamers will work, but littlenecks or cherrystones will work as well.
Spaghetti with Clams, White Wine, Butter and Garlic (Serves 2)
- 1 dozen clams, steamed and chopped
- 1/4 lb spaghetti (two portions)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Steam the clams for 5 or 6 minutes until they open, and chop them. Bring a pot of water to boil for the spaghetti, and salt the water liberally. If your clams were very clean, and the water you boiled them in isn’t gritty, you can actually cook your pasta in the clam broth for extra flavor. Meanwhile, in a skillet, melt the butter and cook the garlic for 2-3 minutes until just becoming golden. Add the white wine, and cook for 1 minute to boil off some of the alcohol. Add the clams and toss just enough to warm them.
When the pasta is ready, drain and toss with the sauce. Serve with fresh parsley and fresh ground pepper.