Spaghetti with Clams and Tomatoes Recipe
Spaghetti with clams and Tomato is an Italian classic dish built on simplicity: briny, juicy clams in a subtle but rich sauce that coats well cooked pasta. Despite its simplicity, there are a few frequent traps to avoid: The clams are frequently overdone and rubbery, and the sauce can be bland and flavourless. We needed a sauce that could stand up to the brininess of the clams while also providing an easy method for cooking them.
How to prepare Spaghetti with Clams and Tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
- Salt and pepper
- 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and halved
- 12 cloves garlic, peeled (8 smashed, 4 minced)
- 1 shallot, sliced thin
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound spaghetti or linguine
- 4 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh mint or parsley
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack in the middle position. In a large mixing bowl, combine tomato paste, 1 tablespoon oil, thyme, 14 teaspoon salt, and 14 teaspoon pepper. Toss in the tomatoes and smashed garlic to coat. In the centre of a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminium foil, place a 4-inch piece of aluminium foil. Place smashed garlic cloves on foil and cut side down, lay tomatoes around garlic. 45 to 55 minutes, or until tomatoes are tender and skins are nicely browned.
- In a Dutch oven, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook for 1 minute, or until shallot, pepper flakes, and minced garlic are aromatic. Cook, stirring constantly, until the wine has almost totally evaporated, about 1 minute. Bring to a boil with the roasted tomatoes and garlic. Add the clams, cover, and simmer for 4 to 8 minutes, stirring the pot occasionally. Remove the clams with a slotted spoon as they open and place them in a bowl. Any clams that refuse to open should be discarded. (Remove clams from shells if desired.)
- Meanwhile, in a big pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Cook, tossing frequently, until the pasta is al dente, adding 1 tablespoon salt. Drain the pasta and put it to the pot with the sauce, reserving 12 cup of the cooking water. Toss in the mint and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and adjust consistency as needed with the conserved cooking water. Place the pasta in a serving bowl, top with the clams, and drizzle with the remaining oil. Serve.