Take white clam sauce to the next level! This creamy and easy-to-make dinner will impress guests, but it’s quick enough to make as a weeknight meal!
I’ve loved pasta with white clam sauce for years. Up until about 5 years ago, I always bought the canned variety because I thought it was “easier.”
But I did remember that many years ago, a great Italian cook I used to work with told me clam sauce was easy to make. And frankly, it’s just as easy as opening the can of the prepared stuff. Yes, you have to prep an ingredient, but it’s just one–garlic.
Traditional white clam sauce with pasta is more like a soup to me, and I really enjoy it. This version of the sauce breaks away a bit from the more traditional white clam sauce because it adds an ingredient (the cream) and substitutes another (olive oil).
I did have something like this years ago. My mother had just returned from the UK for a visit and we dined at the hotel she was staying at close to JFK Airport. Linguine with clam sauce was on the menu so I ordered it.
Much to my surprise (and maybe a bit of horror) was this sauce was cream based. I’d never seen anything like it before and certainly wasn’t expecting it. I tasted it and in fact, sent it back saying it was not the traditional dish and ordered a burger. It didn’t taste bad, just different.
I thought about that incident just recently and the idea of cream in the sauce sort of appealed to me–over 20 years later–so I decided to try to make a credible version.
This sauce is hearty and filling along with the pasta. It takes about the same amount of time to cook as the more traditional version. This sauce is reduced, where the other one simmers (and stands) so it’s approximately the same amount of time. But it’s ready in 30 minutes or less so it can be put together very easily for the family on nights where you may have forgotten to take something out of the freezer!
- 1 can (10 oz) whole baby clams, undrained
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp oregano
- 1 cup cream*
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper (I used white but black will do)
- 1 tbs butter
- 4 tbs finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley**
- 1 lb fettuccini cooked per package directions
- *Heavy cream is preferred, but half-and-half or light cream may be used but you'll probably have to thicken the sauce.
- **Fresh parsley is highly recommended for the flavor. But if you don't have it, 2 tbs of the dehydrted from the jar will do in a pinch.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and let it saute for about 1-2 minutes. Don't let it brown.
- Add the can of clams, including the liquor they are packed in.
- Add the salt, pepper and oregano and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Continue cooking uncovered over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by about 25 % (about 10 minutes)
- Reduce heat and stir in the cream--do let it boil.
- If you used heavy cream, the sauce should be thick enough, but if you used half-and-half or light cream, you may have to thicken--
- TO THICKEN IF DESIRED:
- Mix 1 tbs of cornstarch in 2 tbs cold water and add to the sauce, stirring constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens, about 1 minute.
- Serve over hot pasta and top each serving with 1 tbs of the finely chopped *fresh* parsley. (1/2 tbs each if using the dehydrated)