Serves 4

Prep time 15 minutes, plus time cleaning clams

Cook time 45 minutes

Ingredients

Sauce

3 dozen Little Neck or Manilla clams (about 3 1/2 lb.), cleaned very well (see Tip)

1/4 cup water

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes or one Fresno chili, seeded and minced

2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley

2/3 cup dry white wine

1 can (28 oz.) Contadina® San Marzano Whole Tomatoes, crushed by hand

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Pasta

12 oz. uncooked spaghetti

Topping

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 slices stale Italian bread, pulsed to form crumbs (about 1 cup)

3 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley

1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Fill a large pot with water, add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil.

  2. Meanwhile, steam the clams. In a large deep skillet or Dutch oven, add cleaned clams and water. Cover and steam over medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes until the clams open; remove the clams to a dish and discard any that didn’t open.  Strain the clam broth through a fine sieve (I line with coffee filters) and set the clam broth aside. Should get a little over 1 cup of broth.

  3. In the same pan, add olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and parsley, bring to a sizzle over medium heat.  Add wine and cook until reduced by half.  Add tomatoes and 3/4 cup of clam broth; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to medium and simmer about 20 minutes, uncovered. After sauce simmers 10 minutes, add pasta to the hot water; cook and drain according to package instructions.

  4. While sauce and pasta are cooking, make the breadcrumb topping.   In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook 7 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly, until crisp and golden brown.  Stir in parsley and Parmesan and cook one more minute; remove from skillet and set aside.

  5. Return clams to the sauce for the last minute of the sauce cook time, just to warm them through. Remove from heat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add pasta to sauce and toss well.   Serve family style in a large shallow dish sprinkled with breadcrumbs and dig in!

TIP:  To clean clams, fill a large bowl with 2 qt. of cold water. Discard any chipped or broken clams, then add to water and refrigerate 30 minutes. Lift clams from the water and transfer to a colander; discard dirty soaking water. Rinse the bowl and repeat the process until the water is clean (2 to 3 times should be enough). Scrub the clams well with a firm brush before cooking. 

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