I have been loving this my adult life as a quick and simple Italian favorite. These days I bless it now with two small tweaks.
The first tweak is replacing traditional pasta with whole grain pasta. Unlike traditional pasta, which is milled, whole grain pastas keep their bran and germ, like quinoa, and these in turn help deliver protein, fiber and key nutrients. In supermarkets I’ve noticed products like these are becoming more and more common by the day.
The other tweak is finding the most natural and unprocessed canned clams you can. I have in Bar Harbor All Natural Chopped Clams, sold by Whole Foods. One 6.5 oz. can lists chopped sea clams, clam juice and sea salt. Although you don’t taste them, Bumble Bee’s easier-to-find version also includes sugar and color protection in its list of ingredients, which seem unnecessary — but doable in a pinch.
Linguine is the classic pasta style, but you can use others. In the photo I used penne. Mamma Mia!
Chopped Clams and Pasta
- 1 lb. whole grain pasta, linguine or another style
- 4 cans of 6.5 oz. Bar Harbor All Natural Chopped Clams (or other supplier)
- 28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
- 2 small cloves garlic, minced
- Red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 2 lemons
Heat a large pot to a boil with water and a pinch of salt and then cook the pasta according to instructions. Many suppliers suggest 9-10 minutes, but test its doneness a moment or two early; you do not want to overcook whole grain pasta. Drain.
In the meantime, open each can of clams and reserve their juices in something while leaving the clams themselves in their cans.
Heat a little olive oil to medium heat in a large saucepan (or smaller if you are cooking for fewer people). Add the minced garlic for 30 seconds and then add the canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes and some salt and pepper. Stir gently for 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped clams until they are just heated, about 1 minute, then about half of the reserved clam juice for another minute or two.
To finish the dish, add the drained pasta to the saucepan and complete with some chopped parsley and squeezes of fresh lemon juice.