Fresh Florida Littleneck Clams with Garlic, Chardonnay and Angel Hair Pasta

I love seafood. I love pasta. I love wine. Together, that’s a perfect gastronomic trifecta. And, living in coastal Florida, I’m fortunate to get amazing fresh seafood. This pasta dish contains Florida littleneck clams, garlic, Chardonnay, and little else.

For this recipe, you’ll need:

2 pounds fresh littleneck clams
1/2 cup good Chardonnay wine
1/2 cup water
5 cloves minced garlic
1/2 minced sweet onion
1 garden fresh tomato, diced
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I use organic)
Good quality Parmesan or Romano cheese for grating
Fresh parsley for garnish

Method:

Rinse the clams well and scrub any dirt from the shells. Discard any broken or open clams.

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Put three tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and put in about half of the garlic. Simmer on low medium heat until the garlic starts to turn golden brown. Then add about 3/4 of your clams to the skillet and put in the wine and water.

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Cover your skillet with tightly fitting lid and let simmer on low for about 10 minutes until all of the clams are open.

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Remove the cooked clams from the skillet and set them aside to cool.

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Add the diced tomato and, with the lid off, reduce the sauce by about half.

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Put the sauce in a heat safe container and rinse and dry the skillet. Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet and add the rest of the garlic, minced sweet onion, and red pepper flakes.

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While the garlic and onion is beginning to simmer, remove the cooled clam meat from the shells. Discard the shelves and set the clam meat aside.

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Add the remaining uncooked clams to the skillet along with the reduced sauce you already set aside. Cover tightly. The clams should again take about ten minutes. Once the clams are open, add back the clam meat you set aside, the unsalted butter, and fresh parsley. (I forgot parsley, and I sorely regret it.)

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Once everything is heated through, which should only take about a minute, put the entire thing over a steaming pile of angel hair pasta in a family sized bowl. (By the way, go easy on the salt in the pasta water, as clams and cheese are plenty salty enough.)

Grate a bit of fresh cheese at the very end and enjoy!

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