Spaghetti with Littlenecks

One of my favorite seafood dishes is spaghetti with littlenecks. It’s a simple “sauce” but packed with flavor. Although we don’t have many seafood markets here is Northern Virginia, we are lucky enough to have 4 Asian grocery stores within a 2 mile radius of our house. These grocery stores have an incredible selection of ethnic foods and have amazing seafood departments.

I was lucky enough to find littlenecks at the La Lotte Market near our house. Littlenecks are the smallest type of clam (typically 2″ in diameter) and you can normally get about 7-10 per pound. These are my favorite kind because the small size makes them easy to work with – especially in a pasta dish.

Spaghetti with littlenecks

Spaghetti with Littlenecks

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  •  1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 5  garlic cloves,  finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 pounds littlenecks (about 25-30)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add pasta, stirring constantly in the beginning to prevent it from sticking together. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
  2. While the pasta is boiling, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the littlenecks, parsley, wine and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until most littlenecks have opened (discard any littlenecks that did not open). Whisk in butter to thicken sauce slightly.
  3. Drain the pasta and place into the littlenecks pan and mix thoroughly. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
  4. Pour pasta into large serving bowl. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese* and serve immediately.

*I have to note that most Italians are probably cringing at the fact that I put cheese on my seafood pasta – even though it’s not “traditional” to do so, I still love the way it tastes!

Baked Stuffed Lobster

Baked stuffed lobster has got to be one of my favorite seafood dishes. My mom would always make this for special occasions and it was a great way to introduce out-of-town guests to some delicious New England food.

This dish is both impressive and easy to make. Only a handful of ingredients are needed: lobster, margarine, ritz crackers, and white wine. When shopping for this meal, we normally look for lobsters that are around 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 pounds each.

Baked Stuffed Lobster

The first step is prepping the lobsters. Lay the lobster on its back and take a dish towel to hold down the big claws with one hand. With the other hand, take a large, sharp knife and cut into the top of the lobster. Continue cutting into the lobster through the center and down the tail. Clean out the inside completely, making sure to remove the vein that runs through the center of the shell.

Baked Stuffed Lobster

Cut off the large claws and place them into boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Clean the meat out of the claw shells and set aside.Baked Stuffed Lobster

While the claws are boiling, place  1 1/2 sleeves of ritz crackers into a food processor and blend until finely crushed. Melt 1 stick of margarine. Assemble the stuffing by combining the ritz crackers, margarine, claw meat, and about 2 tablespoons of white wine. The stuffing should be a wet consistency; add more margarine if necessary.

Baked Stuffed Lobster

Evenly distribute the stuffing into the lobsters, making sure to place the stuffing all the way down to the tail.

Baked Stuffed Lobster

Bake the lobsters at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve with melted butter.

Baked Stuffed Lobster

Baked Stuffed Lobster

Ingredients

  • 2 lobsters (approximately 1.5 pounds each)
  • 1.5 sleeves ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1 stick margarine, melted
  • 2 TBSP white wine

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the lobsters and clean out the insides, making sure to remove the vein. Cut off the claws and place in boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Remove the meat from the claws.
  3. While the claws are cooking, place 1 1/2 sleeves of ritz crackers into a food processor and pulse until finely crushed. Combine the ritz crackers, melted margarine, claw meat, and white wine. Add more margarine, if necessary, to create a wet consistency.
  4. Evenly distribute the stuffing into the lobsters. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve with melted butter.