A few weeks ago, I had planned to spend a romantic evening alone with myself. I hadn’t done it in a while so I was going to go all out. Fresh oysters, fresh clams, fresh pasta- all for me and me alone. Last minute, my plans had changed in the best way possible. My girl Taylor was going to join me and she was bringing the goods- a perfectly chilled bottle of Veuve. My boujee romantic night just got even more boujee and more romantic. Taylor is (read: was) not huge into clams but because this was a last minute plan and I was going to be having clams no matter what, she went with it. To say we enjoyed this pasta would be an understatement. In classic me fashion, I made about 4 servings instead of 2 and my dudes there was not even a thin slice of garlic left in the pan when we were done with it. A CLAM PASTA SUCCESS! This dish is very simple, coming together in less time than it takes to cook the pasta (I’m not kidding) but it shows as very impressive and fancy. Try it out at your next dinner party and hear the ‘ouuuus’ and ‘ahhhhs’. All that said, the biggest lesson here is: don’t be afraid to try new things and sometimes it’s nice to have a date with a friend!
Small Pasta Clams (for 2 people, I do 24. If you decide to use little neck clams, do half that as they’re much larger)
Olive Oil, 1 tbsp or enough to coat the bottom of the pan
3-4 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
Chili Flakes, to taste
⅓ cup White Wine
Lemon Juice, to taste
Pasta of your choice
For my dish I made fresh pasta. As I mentioned above, I was going all out. If you would like to make your own fresh pasta, see my fresh pasta recipe here! If not, you can just use your favourite pasta noodle. If you can’t decide, I would recommend either a fettuccine or a spaghetti for this one.
Begin boiling your pasta water. Once your pasta water has come to a boil, salt well, add your pasta and cook per the package instructions.
While your pasta is cooking, it’s time to make the clams!
Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of a pan. Once hot, add your garlic and chili flakes and just gently swirl the garlic and chili in the oil. You don’t want your garlic to brown here, you just want to fry it until it’s fragrant- about 1 minute.
Once you see the tiniest bit of colour on the edge of your garlic, it’s time to add your white wine. Be careful while adding the wine!!!! It will make your oil and garlic begin to pop so please be careful!
Once the sizzling has died down, it’s time to add your clams. Add all of your clams and put a lid on your pan. Keep them covered and steaming for about 6 minutes. You can check on them if you’d like. They are ready when the clams have opened up. If there are any after 6 minutes that are not opened, you should discard them.
While the clams are busy steaming, I usually chop up the parsley. I like to chop it up as close to when I’m going to eat it as possible. You can do it before if you prefer, but I like to do it this way.
This should all time up pretty perfectly for when your pasta is done. Reserve some pasta water and add it to your clams. Then add your pasta into the clam pan. Toss as many times as you need to to fully coat the noodles and until there is no liquid left in the pan. This may take 2-3 minutes to achieve.
Now- in all pastas I’m pretty weary about adding salt. If you’ve cooked your pasta correctly, the pasta water should be quite salty. In this recipe because we’re using lots of pasta water AND we’re using clams from the ocean, it is unlikely you will need a lot of salt, if any. So- before you take it off the heat- try a noodle and see if it needs additional salt or if it’s all good.
Top with freshly chopped parsley, a spritz of lemon juice and serve!