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I have never sought the attention of clams, but never minded them when they appeared. I have scoffed at bottled clam juice, but understand that it has a purpose. When three dozen fresh clams presented themselves, my response was, maybe I should try out spaghetti with clam sauce. Wow. This dish seems to come out of nowhere; saute garlic in oil and magically the sauce appears when the clams open and reveal their delicious liquid.

Spaghetti with Fresh Clam Sauce

  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 3-5 dozen clams, washed and scrubbed (don’t worry, you will eat them all)
  • 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley, minced
  • 1/2 pound pasta (I used homemade)

In a large saute pan, gently heat the garlic and oil and cook for a minute. Add the pepper flakes. Add the clams. Cover and let steam for about five minutes, or until they open. Add the parsley.

Cook the pasta and drain. If desired, coat the pasta with a big pat of butter (maybe not traditional, but highly recommended). Top with clam sauce and clams in the shell. Provide an extra bowl for dumping the empty shells.

Note well: Unlike every other recipe I write, salt and pepper are unnecessary in this recipe. Do not be tempted to salt and pepper! There is plenty of natural flavor in the fresh clam juice. They taste of the sea.