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Pasta in White Clam Sauce

Updated February 23, 2016
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This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

A low-fat buttermilk-and-cornstarch mixture is the key to this pasta’s creamy white sauce. Sweet canned clams provide a pleasing contrast to the tartness of the buttermilk. The fresh clams served in their shells lend visual excitement to the dish; for added effect, surround them with slices of red bell pepper.

4 servings

CostModerate

Moderate

Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationhealthy

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecreamy, herby, hot & spicy, tart

Type of Dishpasta

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces dried spaghetti
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallot (2 large shallots)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 12 littleneck clams
  • 10 ounces canned baby clams, broth reserved
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons water
  • 4 teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, add the spaghetti, and cook to desired doneness, 6 to 9 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, put the wine, water, shallots, and garlic in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the fresh clams, cover, and continue to cook over medium heat. Remove the clams when their shells have opened. Stir the broth from the canned clams into the saucepan. Cook a few minutes more, until the liquid is reduced by half.

Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the buttermilk-and-cornstarch mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes more to thicken, whisking constantly. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, canned clams, oregano, basil, pepper, hot sauce, and chopped parsley.

Combine the pasta and the clam sauce in a warm serving bowl and toss to coat. Garnish with the cooked clams, in their shells.

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