Clamming Your Own Clam Pasta

You can make this pasta dish with store-bought clams but if you do have the opportunity to go clamming, you’ll enjoy your meal even more.
By Kelsey Hilts

Clam Pasta

I recently had the opportunity to stay with some friends at their house in Pacific City on the Oregon Coast.  It was a perfect 4th of July weekend for many reasons, one in particular: we were introduced to clamming.  Surprisingly, though I grew up in the Puget Sound, I have never been clamming.  {And, to be exact, I really haven’t gone yet because I was on the sidelines with our newborn baby.}  But my husband, and even our 2 1/2-year old son for a short stint, got to experience wading through the mud feeling for clams with his feet.

Butter Clams

Though I didn’t get to partake in clamming this time, I know that there will be a next time.  And fortunately, I did get to enjoy the clam spaghetti dinner that our friend Ben made that night.  We enjoyed it so much that my husband went clamming again the next day so that we could bring clams home with us.  The day we got back from the coast we made the clam pasta again.  The butter clams are chewy but when chopped into small pieces and mixed with turkey sausage and vegetables, you don’t even notice them because there are so many other flavors and textures in the dish.

Of course, you can still make this pasta dish with store-bought clams but if you do have the opportunity to go clamming, you’ll probably enjoy your meal that much more.  It is an inexpensive family activity which provides a great excuse for a beach walk.

Clam Pasta
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
 
This flavorful and colorful spaghetti dish is loaded with chopped butter clams, turkey sausage and vegetables.
Author:
Recipe Type: Main Course
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 3-4 slices bacon or turkey bacon
  • 1-2 chicken or turkey kielbasa sausages
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups (473,2mL) clam juice or white wine
  • 10-20 butter clams, steamed and chopped
  • ½ cup (90g) Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup (90g) feta cheese
  • Whole wheat spaghetti noodles
Instructions
Preparing the Clams
  1. Soak the clams in salt water for at least 1 hour to remove the sand.
  2. Discard any clams that are open and won't close when lightly tapped.
  3. Bring water to boil in a double boiler and place the clams in the top.
  4. Steam the clams until the shells open, discarding any clams that won't open.
  5. Remove the meat from the shell, cut each piece in half lengthwise and take out the guts.
  6. Chop the remaining clam meat into chunks.
Clam Pasta
  1. Cook the bacon in the microwave or on the stovetop until it is crispy.
  2. Chop it into bits and set it aside.
  3. Cook the spaghetti noodles according to the directions on the package.
  4. Cook the turkey sausage and cut it into chunks.
  5. Lightly coat a pan with olive oil and saute the chopped vegetables over medium heat for several minutes or until they are tender.
  6. Add the clam juice {or white wine}, chunks of turkey sausage and the chopped clams.
  7. Let the mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  8. Toss with Parmesan cheese, feta cheese and bacon bits.
  9. Serve the clam pasta sauce over the cooked whole wheat noodles.

Clam Pasta

{You can find more information on safe practices for the handling and consumption of shellfish on the FDA website.  Many state government sites also outline safety practices as well as provide information regarding specific local conditions that could affect the harvesting of shellfish in your area.}

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