Spaghetti with Clams and Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes makes an elegant dinner for entertaining. Spaghetti dressed with clams is a Southern italian classic, and tomatoes contribute a contemporary addition.
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, divided
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
48 littleneck clams, scrubbed
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound uncooked spaghetti
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 300°.
Combine tomatoes and 1 tablespoon olive oil, tossing to coat. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on a jelly-roll pan. Thinly slice 1 garlic clove; sprinkle over tomatoes. Bake tomato mixture at 300° for 1 1/2 hours or until tomatoes are slightly shriveled. Set aside.
Mince remaining 2 garlic cloves. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add minced garlic and red pepper to skillet; cook 2 minutes or until garlic and pepper sizzle. Increase heat to medium-high; stir in wine. Add clams; cover and cook 7 minutes or until clams open. Using tongs, remove clams from skillet; reserve liquid. Discard any unopened shells. Strain liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth into a bowl; discard solids. Wipe skillet clean; return liquid to skillet. Add tomatoes, parsley, basil, and salt; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reserve 24 clams in shells. Remove remaining clams from shells; add all clams to skillet.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Combine pasta and clam mixture. Serve immediately.
Is that why they suggest the cheesecloth? I couldn't quite figure that one out. I just posted how to clean the clams ahead of time with cornmeal to get rid of all the grit while the clams are alive. Hope it helps.CLEANING CLAMS: I did scrub the clams with a vegetable brush and then put them in a single layer in a container filled with cool water and 2 tbl cornmeal for an hour in the fridge. I hadn't done this before, and read a few online reviews. Many said you don't need to do this with farm raised clams, but I will tell you that there was some dark grit at the bottom of the container after an hour. Not a ton, but enough that I was glad I did it. AND, I didn't get any gritty clams. They were all fabulous. Up to you whether you want to spend the time.
I made this last night and absolutely loved it. I purchased too many clams so I'm re-doing tonight. YUM!!! So many fabulous flavors going on here . . . A few things I learned:1. I saved time by not arranging the cherry tomatoes cut side up. made no difference2. The sprinkled sliced garlic got really brown fast so I mixed it in with the tomatoes.Next time I will just mince the garlic.3. the tomatoes can be made ahead and warmed up when needed.4. I love garlic and red pepper so I skipped the cheesecloth. discarding the solids would have removed those fabulous flavors. Plus it saved a bunch of time.5. I added an extra 1/2 cup of wine near the end as I didn't think there was enough sauce. An alternative would be to use reserved pasta water . . . unfortunately I'd already tossed it.I will totally make this recipe for guests. It was amazing, and easy - I've never cooked clams before..BTW - CLEANING CLAMS: I did scrub the clams with a vegetable brush and then put them in a single layer in a container filled with cool water and 2 tbl cornmeal for an hour in the fridge. I hadn't done this before, and read a few online reviews. Many said you don't need to do this with farm raised clams, but I will tell you that there was some dark grit at the bottom of the container after an hour. Not a ton, but enough that I was glad I did it. AND, I didn't get any gritty clams. They were all fabulous. Up to you whether you want to spend the time.
I made this for my husband for his birthday.......IT WAS DELICIOUS. We had guests for dinner and they all agreed the flavors were crisp and clean. Even the non clam lovers enjoyed the meal. I served it with a salad and plenty of bread to soak up the liquid. My mistake was not straining it through cheesecloth. I didn't have any on hand so i used 2 very fine strainers but that wasn't enough to catch all the grit. It did fall to the bottom of the serving dish so we could work around it. I will be buying more cheesecloth!!!! This is a keeper!!!
We enjoyed this - lots of fresh, bright flavors, although perhaps a bit TOO subtle for people (like us) who like big, bold flavors and lots of spice. If I make this again, I'll add more roasted cherry tomatoes or maybe a can of fire-roasted diced. We used a fresh baguette to mop up the liquid - yum!
I made this for my husband last night. We are catholic and I was looking for better than the average fish dinner for Friday. This was amazing! We did add one can of clams to the sauce in addition to the 48 fresh. It was so good my husband ate all but one portion! He can't wait to have it again....
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