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A New Spaghetti with Clams

A New England twist on Italian spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams). The potatoes and Canadian bacon recall Yankee chowder, and they add substance to the dish, enabling you to reduce the oil and omit the traditional butter. For best results, use fresh littlenecks or other small clams. Note: Canned clams can be used in a pinch. (You'll need two 6.5-ounce cans.)

  • 36 littleneck clams (the smaller the better)
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 oz. thinly sliced Canadian bacon or smiked ham
  • 1/4 tsp. hot pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white vermouth or dry white wine
  • 1 cup bottled clam broth or fish stock
  • 1 baking potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 8 oz. spaghetti, spaghettini, or linguini
  • 1/2 chopped flat-leaf parsley

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot for cooking pasta. Scrub the clam shells under cold water with a stiff bristle brush.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the garlic and cook over a medium heat until fragrant but not brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the bacon and pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add vermouth and bring to a boil. Add the clam broth, and bring to a boil. Stir in the potatoes and clams, tightly cover the pan, and cook until the shells open and the potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes.

Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander. Stir it into the sauce and cook until thoroughly heated and coated with sauce, about 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve at once.


Reproduced by permission from Viking.
High Flavor Low-Fat Pasta © 1996 by Steve Raichlen


WINE RECOMMENDED: Serve with an Italian chardonnay or grecco di tuffo. Or a reisling if you like a touch of sweetness.


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