Red or White?

That’s not a metaphysical question.  Nor is it (tonight) a question about wine.  Rather, it is the second part to the question: which clam sauce do you prefer?

I’ve always been a white clam sauce guy.  It’s something about the clean, briny flavors of clams, garlic, olive oil, and a little white wine.  So, naturally, when I made the dish tonight, I chose red.  I had a little leftover tomatoes in the refrigerator, and it just felt right this time.

An easy dish:

  • chop finely a fat clove of garlic
  • finely dice 1/2 jalapeño pepper
  • scrub a dozen of the smallest fresh littleneck or manilla clams you can find
  • sauté the garlic and clams in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over a medium high flame, with a cover on the pan
  • add the diced pepper after a minute or two
  • if the pan gets too hot (i.e. garlic starts to burn), add a little white wine (less than 1/4 cup), and turn the heat down slightly
  • cook until the clams begin to open fully; remove the open clams to a bowl
  • when all the clams are open and removed, there should be some of the clam juice in the pan; if not enough, add a bit of white wine
  • add top quality Italian canned tomatoes (about 6-7 oz. or a quarter of a large can)
  • cook uncovered until the tomatoes have concentrated into a thick sauce
  • meanwhile boil about 1/4 lb. of best Italian dried spaghetti in salted water
  • reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and drain the spaghetti
  • add pasta to the sauté pan with the sauce, and put in enough of the pasta water to make the sauce about the right consistency
  • remove the clam meat from the shells, and put them in the pan, mixing into the sauce
  • place in large pasta bowls, grind some fresh black pepper generously on top —  serve

Now, Red or White….wine.  Either will work.  I had a glass of white (a Lugana), followed by a red (the rest of the Nebbiolo d’Alba).  Mangia!!

spaghetti and red clam sauce

This entry was posted in Food, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s