A couple weeks back, my good friend Allison Fishman came to visit. While she was here, she made a clam sauce out of her forthcoming book, You Can Trust a Skinny Cook. It was simple and it was delicious.
Because Allison doesn’t live in a place where you can go out and dig your own clams, she uses the canned kind — and they’re just fine. Because I live in a place where I can go and dig my own, that’s what I do.
This is my fresh-clam adaptation of Allison’s recipe, and it is irresistable.
Perfect Clam Sauce (adapted from Allison Fishman)
Serves 2, generously
2 T. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped garlic (yes, 1/2 cup – about a head)
2/3 cup white wine or vermouth
3-4 qts. fresh quahogs (hard-shelled clams) in the shell (small are good, but large work)
3/4 cup grated parmesan
1 bunch parsley, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
6-8 ounces spaghetti, cooked almost until done
In a pot big enough to hold everything, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring now and then, until it is completely soft and begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the wine and clams. Cover the pot. Turn up the heat and steam the clams open — this will take about 8-10 minutes.
Remove the clams from the pot, and keep the heat up to cook the liquid down. Remove the meat from the clams. If you’re using small clams, you can leave them whole. If you’re using big ones, chop them to a size you like.
When the liquid has reduced to a couple of cups, add the almost-cooked pasta so it continues to cook in the sauce. When the pasta has absorbed most of the liquid, add the cheese, parsley, and chopped clams. Heat through, and you’re done.