Spaghetti with Clams Recipe

March 8, 2022

Spaghetti with Clams Recipe

Serves 4


3 pounds littleneck clams, rinsed

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 stocks of green garlic, chopped (or 5 cloves of garlic)

3 sprigs of thyme

1/2 cup white wine

1 pound spaghetti

1 head of fennel, diced (1 teaspoon fronds, reserved and chopped )

Salt and pepper

2 teaspoons Calabrian chili

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 bunch parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish

1/2 of a lemon, both zest and juice

Toasted breadcrumbs

Steam the clams. Use a sauté pan with a tight fitting lid and place it over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil along with 1 teaspoon of green garlic and sauté for a minute until the green garlic is tender and aromatic. Add the thyme branches, sauté for a few minutes more, followed by the white wine. Add the clams and cover the pan to allow for the clams to steam. After 3 to 4 minutes, check the clams and remove any that have already opened. Continue steaming the rest of the clams until they all open. If any stragglers remain closed, throw those away. Remove all the clams from the liquid to cool and save the clam juice, you should have nearly 1 cup. Once the clams are cool enough to handle, separate the meat and throw away the shells. Roughly chop about half of the clams so they will mix easily into the sauce, leaving the other half whole. 

Fill a medium sauce pot with water for the pasta and bring to a boil. Season the water until it’s salty like the sea. Meanwhile, build the sauce. In a large sauté pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with the diced fennel, a pinch of salt and about a teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper and sauté until the fennel is tender. Add the remaining green garlic and the Calabrian chili and sauté for a few minutes until tender and aromatic. Sizzle in a few pinches of the chopped parsley and fennel fronds, then add the clam juice. Simmer this sauce for about a minute, then turn it off until it’s time to add the spaghetti. Once the pasta is almost al dente, bring the sauce to a simmer and add the butter. Let the butter melt and emulsify into the sauce. Add the pasta along with 1/2 cup of pasta water and simmer it all together to finish cooking the noodles. Use tongs to move the noodles around in the sauce until they’re nice and glossy. Add the zest and juice of half a lemon, along with the clams and toss. Taste for seasoning. Top each bowl of pasta with toasted breadcrumbs and more fresh herbs.