Monday, February 14, 2011

Clam Pasta

After using half of a 28-ounce can of baby clams for some clam chowder, I decided the rest of it should work its way into a pasta dish. I thought about hunting down a traditional recipe for linguine with clam sauce, but that urge didn't last long. Instead, I made my own version of ... something.

And since I didn't have any linguine-like pasta on hand, I made my own noodles, too. Check here for that recipe.

The sun-dried tomatoes I used in this recipe are the ones you'll find near the dried fruits or in the produce section. They're pliable and chewy, like tomato prunes. You could substitute the tomatoes packed in oil, if you prefer; I wouldn't recommend the ones that are completely hard and dry.

Clam Pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
10 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Pinch of chili flakes
1/2 of the clams from a 28 ounce can of baby clams
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon garlic oil

Get your pot of water boiling for your pasta; this takes no time at all to make. Cook your pasta just barely to al dente - you'll finish it in the pan with the sauce.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saute pan on low. Cook the onions until they begin to get soft. Add the tomatoes, stir to combine, and continue cooking until the tomatoes soften. Add the tomato paste and chili flakes, stir to combine and cook for another minute or two. Add the clams and cook until the clams are heated through. Taste and add salt and pepper, as desired. Add the garlic oil, stir to combine.

If your pasta is done cooking, add it to the pan immediately. Or, turn the heat off on the clams and wait for the pasta - you can heat it again when the pasta is ready.

After you've added the pasta to the clams add a few spoons of the pasta cooking water to the pan - the starch in the water helps to create the sauce and helps it stick to the pasta.

Cook, stirring often, until the pasta is done, adding additional pasta cooking water as needed to create a nice thick clingy sauce. Serve immediately.
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