Oodles of baby clams jumbled and tumbled into a decadently creamy, but at the same time down-home sauce, boasting plenty of tangy Parmesan, and topped off with some freshly-steamed, still-in-the-shell, baby clams. Yes, please!
This is one of those family recipes I've been making since I was in my early twenties. So, for quite a loooong time this clam sauce has been present and accounted for at many family birthdays, and friend gatherings.
In the olden days, Forest Grump and I owned and operated a going concern of a little restaurant, in Kelowna, called Chianti's. One of our most popular 'Specials' was this very It's Our Creamy Clam Sauce. I was one beaming cook, on those clam sauce days, with a silly smile that couldn't be wiped off, from all the compliments, heading into the kitchen.
In those early years when our boys were little, happily they both had fairly open tastes, and both Courtney and Josh loved clam sauce from the get-go. Cool! Now, both of them 40-something, this is still one of their fave requests for family get togethers.
So I thought it damn time that I post this recipe, for posterity, and to make sure that the only place it is stored, isn't just in my head. Which brings us here today.
As I almost always have a little stockpile of different made-in-Italy pastas on hand, before Saylor arrived, for her special dinner, I put out 4 packages of different shaped pastas, so she could choose the 'best' pasta to go with her clam sauce. I chuckled as I put those pasta packages on the counter picturing her inspecting the shapes, while trying to decide. The actual choosing went nothing like that! I popped her up on the counter where the pasta choices were waiting, and with no hesitation whatsoever, she picked the giant sea shells, and was done. Done! Giant sea shells and clam sauce it is!
But, of course like a lot of pasta sauces, It's Our Creamy Clam Sauce is good on many, many pasta shapes, and it comes together quick and easy.
We started Saylor's birthday dinner, with a simple charcuterie, as another one of her most passionate food requests is "Prosciutto, please! And olives!" What a kid!
And then it was time to dig into the eagerly anticipated main course. Ta da!
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IT'S OUR CREAMY CLAM SAUCE ~ 4 to 8 servings
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
2 plump garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup flour
6-8 ounce jar clam nectar
2 cans (10 oz) (284gr) whole baby clams, undrained
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 generous teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pinches sea salt, to taste
1 1/3 cups shaved, or grated, good quality Parmesan cheese
1 pound giant sea shells, linguine, spaghetti, or pasta of your choice
1 pound frozen baby (40/60 count) Brown clams, in the shell, thawed
About 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 plump garlic clove, minced
2 lemon slices
Italian parsley, for garnish
Add butter to medium saucepan, over medium high heat. When butter is melted stir in diced onion. Stirring, cook about 5 minutes until onion is tender, with some toasty brown edges. Add garlic, and saute for 2 minutes, just until fragrant.
Add flour and stir, stir, stir, to combine, until the mixture bubbles. Stir, or whisk in the clam nectar, then add the 2 undrained cans of baby clams, while continuing to stir. Adjust heat if necessary to medium. While stirring, add whipping cream.
As mixture thickens, continue stirring while adding Worcestershire sauce, pepper and salt. Adjust heat, if necessary. When bubbles just start to break the surface, add Parmesan and stir, stir, stir to incorporate completely into your creamy, silky, rich, delicious, down-home good clam sauce.
Meanwhile start your pasta water, and cook your pasta until just al dente, drain.
While your pasta cooks, add 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon butter, sea salt & pepper, 1 garlic clove, minced, and 2 lemon slices to large-ish skillet, with lid. Bring to a quick boil. Gently add the thawed, whole baby Brown clams in the shell. With the lid on, simmer for 5-8 minutes, just until the clams are fully open. Discard any clams that do not open.
Now let's bring it all together. Add warm clam sauce to your just-drained, perfectly al dente pasta, and toss, toss, gently toss. Transfer this glorious mixture to serving dish. Quickly scoop steamed clams-in-the-shell, onto the top of the saucy pasta, and scatter with a bit of torn, Italian parsley. TA DA!!