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!