I’m so happy cooking my way through Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. And I’m also happy that I’m still cooking pastas-my favorite. I was very happy to see that one of the recipes I get to cook is White Clam Sauce. I’ve eaten it several times, and made it a couple, but this recipe was different. The method comes from Venice, from Cesae Benelli’s Al Covo. What makes his version different is that you only partially cook the pasta, then when it’s still underdone, you finish it in a pan along with the clam juice that was reserved from cooking the clams earlier. Marcella says that by the time the pasta is cooked, it has absorbed all of the fresh clam juices which make it much richer than most versions of this pasta. I totally agree. It felt as if I was eating the essence of the sea. And I have to admit, it was sure a lot easier to eat when the clams had already been removed from their shell. Another one to add to the list to make again and again (Wait, haven’t I said that about most of the pastas I’ve made so far?).
Okay, how to make it. First, go out and buy Essentials of Italian Cooking so you will have the exact directions. I’m only promoting her book for one reason-I love it! She says that you can use homemade fettuccine, but I decided to use her other alternative-boxed spaghettini. You wash the clams, and heat them up to open them. You then remove them from the shells, reserving the juice. Then you cook sliced garlic in a skillet in olive oil, and add some diced tomato. The you add dry white wine. After simmering briefly, you set it aside while you cook the pasta just short of being al dente. You then drain the pasta, and add it to the skillet in which contains the garlic, olive oil, white wine, and tomato. You then add the clam juice, and cook until the juice has evaporated and the been absorbed into the pasta. When the pasta is properly cooked, you add the cut-up clams and freshly torn basil leaves and serve immediately.
Here’s a close-up photo. Can’t you just imagine that you’re in Venice, sitting out by a canal, sipping a nice glass of white wine and enjoying the tastes of the sea? We can always dream…


Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking – White Clam Sauce — 4 Comments

  1. Oh yes . . . one can imagine, one can! You did a great job with this recipe, the picture looks amazing.

  2. This is one of my most favorite pasta dishes–so much so that I’ll only order it in Italy anymore, when it’s done right. Now I need to go find some sweet baby clams…