Are you searching for a quick and easy-to-prepare clam recipe? This Strozzapreti Pasta with Clams in a Spicy Fresh Tomato Sauce isn’t just a recipe; it’s a celebration of seafood at its finest! This rustic seafood recipe combines plump littleneck clams with the sun-kissed sweetness of cherry tomatoes, zesty garlic, and aromatic herbs. Imagine tender clams, mingling in a vibrant concoction of tomatoes and spices, enveloping every inch of perfectly al dente Strozzapreti pasta. You can have this restaurant-quality seafood meal on your dinner table in just about 20 minutes!
LET’S TALK CLAMS
Littleneck and middleneck clams are the stars of this dish for several compelling reasons. These particular clam varieties are prized for their sweet, tender meat and delicate brininess. When cooked, littleneck and middleneck clams retain their moisture and flavor, ensuring each bite is a succulent delight. Their smaller size also means they cook quickly and evenly, preventing overcooking and preserving their natural juiciness.
While it’s true that most clams available in today’s markets are relatively clean, soaking them remains a crucial step in seafood preparation. Soaking clams, even if just for a short time, serves a dual purpose:
- It allows the clams to expel any residual sand, ensuring your final dish is free from gritty textures
- Soaking provides an opportunity to inspect the clams individually, discarding any that might be damaged or open, ensuring you only cook and consume the freshest clams.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE PASTA WITH CLAMS
With just a handful of fresh, high-quality ingredients, this homemade clam pasta recipe eliminates the need for complicated preparation:
- Clams: The natural sweetness, brininess, tenderness, and visual appeal of both littleneck and middleneck clams make them the ideal choice, ensuring that this pasta dish is not only delicious but also visually and texturally appealing to those enjoying it.
- Strozzapreti Pasta: Strozzapreti, translating to “priest choker,” is an Italian pasta variety resembling short, twisted ropes. Its firm texture and twisted shape make it perfect for trapping the flavors of sauces, like the clam-infused tomato sauce in this recipe. If you can’t find strozzapreti, you can substitute it with other short pasta shapes like penne or orecchiette.
- Cherry Tomates: Cherry tomatoes are naturally sweet and provide a pleasant contrast to the briny taste of the clams. Alternatively, use Roma or plum tomatoes.
- White Wine: Choose a white wine that compliments the dish without overpowering the delicate flavors of the clams and tomatoes. Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc are great light-bodied wines for cooking.
- Shallots and Garlic: Easily replace the shallots with white onion. If you desire, add more garlic cloves.
- Herbs: Experiment with additional herbs. Fresh basil would be a great compliment to this clam pasta dish.
HOW TO MAKE STROZZAPRETI WITH CLAMS
One of the most enticing aspects of this Strozzapreti Pasta with Clams in a Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe is its remarkable ease and speed of preparation. Despite its gourmet appeal, this dish can be whipped up in no time.
The beauty of this clam recipe is its parallel cooking method. While the sauce is simmering and the pasta is cooking, you can efficiently handle both tasks. Meanwhile, the clams soak, and any impurities are purged away, ensuring they are clean and ready to be cooked.
- Clean Clams: Soak clams, then rinse. Discard any unopened or damaged clams.
- Make Sauce: In a food processor, blend tomatoes, garlic, shallot, red pepper, salt, black pepper, lemon zest, and parsley until smooth.
- Cook Sauce: Simmer sauce in olive oil. Add white wine and clams. Cook until clams open (5-7 mins). Remove clams.
- Cook Pasta: Cook strozzapreti in boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve a cup of pasta water. Drain pasta.
- Combine Ingredients: Toss pasta in sauce. Add clams. Add reserved pasta water if needed for consistency.
- Garnish and Serve: Garnish with parsley and lemon zest. Serve hot.
- Choose Fresh Ingredients: Opt for the freshest littleneck or middleneck clams available. Look for clams that are tightly closed or ones that close when tapped gently, indicating they are alive and fresh.
- Thoroughly Clean the Clams: Even though most clams available today are relatively clean, it’s essential to soak them in cold water with a sprinkle of flour or salt to remove any remaining dirt or sand. Rinse them under running water and inspect each clam before cooking.
- Perfect the Sauce Consistency: Blend the tomato, garlic, and herb mixture until it’s smooth and well-incorporated. Simmer it gently to let the flavors meld but avoid overcooking, as a fresh and vibrant sauce is key to this dish.
- Mind the Pasta Cooking Time: Cook the strozzapreti pasta just until it’s al dent. The pasta will continue cooking briefly in the sauce. Overcooked pasta can become mushy and won’t hold the sauce as well.
- Save Pasta Water: Before draining the pasta, reserve a cup of the cooking water. Adding a bit of this starchy water to the sauce as the clams are steaming, helps bind everything together and enhances the overall flavor.
- Unopened Clams: Clams that do not open after steaming should be discarded, as they are likely dead and may pose a risk to your health if consumed.
- Adjust Seasoning Carefully: Taste the sauce before adding additional salt or pepper. Remember, clams naturally releas
- saltiness, so it’s better to season lightly at first and adjust later if needed.
- Garnish Thoughtfully: Fresh parsley and lemon zest are not just garnishes; they add a burst of freshness to the finished dish.
- Serve Immediately: Seafood dishes are best enjoyed right after cooking. Serve the Strozzapreti with Clams immediately after combining the pasta with the sauce to savor the freshness and warmth of the dish.
- Experiment with Substitutions: While the recipe calls for strozzapreti, feel free to explore other short pasta options like penne or orecchiette. Similarly, if you prefer a spicier kick, increase the crushed red pepper quantity to suit your taste preferences.
HOW TO SERVE AND STORE STROZZAPRETI PASTA WITH CLAMS
To serve this flavor-packed seafood pasta, pair alongside a simple green salad and crusty bread to mop up the delicious sauce.
If you happen to have leftovers, prior to storing, remove the clams from the shell. Store the pasta with the clams in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat gently on the stove, adding a splash of water or wine to maintain the sauce’s consistency.
MORE CLAM DISHES TO LOVE
Explore more with my variety of easy and delicious clam recipes, perfect for seafood enthusiasts of all levels:
- Bucatini with Clams
- Clams Casino
- Steamed Clams with Sausage
- Clams Oreganata
- Linguine with Red Clam Sauce
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