The wonderful thing about the Italian kitchen is its versatility. Many combination of ingredients are slightly altered to create yet another great dish. I cook with mussels and clams in many of my seafood dishes as they add great flavor and can easily stand alone in a soup or a pasta dish. This is yet another tasty dish I love to make as it cooks up fast and will delight the most discriminating pallet. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 4-6 people
One pound little neck clams or any small clam
One pound black mussels
Handful of fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
One teaspoons salt
One teaspoon pepper
2 cups of fresh tomatoes and their juice (store bought canned is fine if fresh is not on hand)
1/2 cup white wine
One pound Di Cecco Spaghetti (or any good quality pasta)
Large pasta pot with 8 quarts water
One tablespoon plus 1/2 tablespoon salt
Method: If you are using fresh clams and mussels, make sure your shellfish is clean and ready. Gently remove any grit with a brush from the shells and place them in a chilled bowl.
In a large skillet, heat your oil. Add your garlic and saute until fragrant. Add your mussels and clams at the same time. Quickly add your lid. Wait 5 minutes and lift your lid from the pan. You will begin to notice that most of your shellfish has opened. Add your wine and place your lid back on the pan for 5 more minutes. Remove your lid, turn your heat down and remove all your mussels and clams from the pan. Do not worry if some of the liquid is going in the bowl too. You will have about a half a cup.
At this point add another tablespoon of oil to the same pan and heat. Add your tomatoes (I like to puree mine in the blender), continue to cook until your tomatoes are fragrant and reduced (about 7-8 minutes on medium).
When you see a ring of oil as formed around the pan, its time to add your shellfish back to the pan. Give it a mix and let reduce 5 more minutes.
I like to remove some of my empty shell. I leave about half intact for presentation and flavor.
Cook you pasta until just al dente, toss with your sauce add your parsley and serve. Buon Appetito
*Special Note: If you are using frozen clams and mussels, the method is quite the same. Your cooking time will reduce by about 5 minutes. Give them a quick rinse and discard any shells you see cracked. They will be surprisingly delicious. *