Friday, October 15, 2010

Linguini and Clams in a Spicy Red Sauce

Whenever we go to an Italian restaurant for the first time, I invariably order Linguini Vongole, which is Linguini with clams.  I do this because it’s simply my favorite Italian dish.  It always has been.  It may sound petty, but this is how I grade the restaurant and decide whether I’ll ever return.  The atmosphere may be terrific, the service divine. But, if the Linguini’s no good, or just doesn’t measure up to my standards, then there’s no reason to ever go back.  

That being the case, I needed to find a recipe for Linguini and Clams, which I could prepare myself, that would fit into our new lifestyle and still taste as good as the Linguini I order when we dine out. Searching the web, and more specifically the Weight Watchers web site,  I found a recipe that I thought might do.

I’ve prepared this dish for Judy and myself on numerous occasions and have been “tweaking” the recipe each time in order to put my signature on it, and make it my own.  The original recipe is for a white clam sauce and doesn’t include the fresh clams with some additional spices.  Also, the original recipe yields eight servings and my recipe can be made for just two. It sets the mood perfectly for a nice romantic Italian evening at home.  A little wine, some candles, and Andrea Bocelli in the background should always be included.

Tutti a Tavola, Mangiare.  Ciao

Linguini and Clams with Spicy Red Sauce.  
1 dozen fresh clams
1 6.5 oz can chopped clams, drained, save juice for later
½ cup parsley, fresh, chopped
2 Tbsp Basil, fresh, finely diced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup white wine
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz whole wheat linguini
1  14.5oz can diced tomatoes with basil and onion, drained


In a pot of gently boiling water, cook linguini until pasta becomes “al dante”, about 9 minutes.

In a saucepan, gently heat oil, add garlic and pepper flakes, stirring occasionally for 30 – 45 seconds. Don’t let the garlic burn.

Add clam juice and wine, bring to a boil, add tomatoes, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add fresh clams and stir occasionally until all the clams are open.
Add chopped clams and cook until heated through, about 45 seconds more. 

Drain pasta and plate. Remove fresh Clams and plate six per serving.  Pour half of the sauce with chopped clams on each portion.

Although a true Italian would frown upon it, you may want to sprinkle a little freshly shaved Parmesan cheese on top when serving.

Yields 2 servings. WW PointsPlus value per serving is 12.  Level of difficulty is moderate (it’s all in the timing). Prep time is about 15 minutes. Cooking time is about 10 minutes.

Wine and Parmesan cheese will add a few points to each serving.  Candles add ambience, not points.

It helps to have all of the ingredients measured out before you begin the cooking process.

Weight Watchers is a trademark of Weight Watchers Intl. Inc.

Photo by Barry Baruh

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