Spaghetti with Clams, Chili, and Olive Oil

Lure Seafood

Excerpted from Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast by Ned Bell with Valerie Howes.

The beauty of this dish lies in its simplicity. Garlic, shallots, and a little white wine form the base, and the clams contribute their own juice during cooking. The resulting light and flavorful sauce perfectly coats twirls of pasta for a comforting one-pot dish.

Serves 4

3 lb live clams such as littleneck, Manila, or savory (purple varnish)
1 lb dried spaghetti
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp chili flakes
¼ cup clam juice
¼ cup dry white wine
3 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
Warm crusty bread, to serve

1. Rinse the clams under cold water for at least 5 minutes, and discard any that are open and won’t close when tapped or that have broken shells. Scrub off any debris.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and salt generously. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to manufacturer’s instructions. Drain the pasta.
3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a large shallow sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Add the garlic and chili flakes and sauté for another minute. Add the clams and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the clam juice and wine, cover, and allow clams to steam for 2 to 3 minutes or until opened. Discard any that haven’t opened.
4. Stir in the cooked, drained pasta, parsley, and lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide among bowls and serve immediately with buttered slices of warm bread.

For more recipes from Ned Bell’s Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast, click here.


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