I shop majority of my groceries online these days – it is a huge time-saver and much more convenient as they are delivered straight to my doorstep. However, I don’t shop online for fresh vegetables, meat and seafood, because I have this fear (it may be irrational) that these major online platforms will not skip a beat to send out damaged/bruised produce. So if I can’t trust major online platforms, I certainly can trust one that sell what they specialise in, right?
Trusted Source for Fresh Seafood
I’m extremely blessed to be able to work with Catch of the Day SG which delivers fresh seafood directly from the fishery port to home. Any fresher, I would have to be a fisherman and go fish myself haha. For Singapore readers, you can get a better understanding of their processes and offerings here: website; Facebook; Instagram.
I was gifted a box of fresh seafood and one of them is a bag of beautiful flower clams. And the first recipe that pop into my mind is White Wine Clam Pasta.
Cheaper to Make Clam Pasta at Home!
Whenever I have clam pasta outside, there usually won’t be a lot of clams. However, when making this at home, I can use as many clams as I like. It is also much cheaper. I used 400 grams of flower clams for two people and this amount costs only SGD 4! We gorged ourselves silly with this amount of clams.
Fresh or Frozen
I have made the clam pasta with store-bought frozen clams before. It’s not bad per se, but we didn’t find the clams particularly sweet. (At least I dont remember us commenting about the clams’ sweetness.) When I used these fresh clams, X said that the clams are nice and sweet.
Cleaning the Clams
While the clam pasta takes only 30 minutes to put together, some prep work is required to clean the clams. It involves some scrubbing and soaking to get the fresh (and still alive) clams to spit out the grit, sand and dirt. This will ensure that your pasta won’t taste gritty afterwards. For frozen clams, just need to scrub them. As they are already dead, there’s no need to soak them.
No White Wine / Leftover Wine
The alcohol will evaporate off during cooking. However, if you are avoiding alcohol or have no white wine on hand, you can substitute with stock (vegetable, chicken or even dashi). Note that this will change the taste profile of the clam pasta. Do also watch the amount of salt, as most stock are already salty. Leftover wine can be frozen (if you don’t want to drink it) in small quantities for future use!
And without further ado, here are the step-by-step photos and recipe!
|1) Scrub the clams. Discard clams that are cracked, broken or damaged. Soak the clams in salt water for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.||2) Get ready the rest of the ingredients as this is a quick dish to put together.|
|3) Boil a pot of water and cook the spaghetti.||4) Cook garlic in extra virgin olive oil.|
|5) Until garlic is golden.||6) Add in the chili flakes.|
|7) Followed by the white wine.||8) When the wine has come to a boil, add in the clams. Spread out to a single layer. Cover and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.|
|9) Until most of the clams are cooked (they will open up).||10) Toss in the pasta.|
|11) Give a quick stir and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 1 minute more.||12) Toss and remove from heat. Stir in butter to emulsify the sauce. If the pasta seems a bit too dry, splash in a bit of pasta water.|
White Wine Clam Pasta
- 400 grams clams see Note 1
- 3 teaspoons salt divided
- 180 grams spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 180 ml dry white wine see Note 2
- 15 grams butter at room temperature
- Salt and black pepperaste to taste
Soak the Clams
- Brush the clam shells to get rid of dirt and debris stuck on the shells. Discard any cracked, broken or damaged clams.
- Give the clams a good rinse and transfer into a bowl. Cover with tap water and stir in 1½ teaspoons salt. Let the clams soak in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (up to 8 hours) to expel the grit and dirt.
- Remove the clams by hand into a strainer (see Note 3). Rinse the clams again and drain. The clams are ready to be cooked.
Cook the Pasta
- Bring water to boil and season with salt (1½ teaspoon salt per 1 litre water). Add in spaghetti and cook until just shy of al dente (about 1-minute less than the timing stipulated on the packaging) (see Note 4).
- Once there's 6 to 7 minutes left to the pasta cooking time, start cooking the clams (see Note 5).
Cook the Clams
- First 3 minutes: Heat oil in a skillet over low heat. Add in garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden.
- 4th minute: Stir in the chili flakes (see Note 6), then pour in the wine. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.
- 5-6th minute: Once the wine is boiling, add in the clams and shake the skillet so that the clams are spread out into an even layer. Cover with a lid and turn the heat down to medium and cook for 2 minutes.
Toss Everything Together
- 7th minute: Remove the lid and give the clams a stir. More than 80% of the clams should be opened (i.e cooked) and the pasta should be ready by now. Reserve a cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta and immediately add into the skillet. Toss well, then cover with the lid and cook for 1 minute more.
- 8th minute: Remove the lid and stir to mix everything together. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter. If the pasta seems dry (which shouldn't be, really), toss in a bit of the reserved pasta water. Discard any unopened clams. Garnish with parsley or basil or chives and serve immediately.
- There are many variety of clams out there. The clams I've used in the photos are known as Flower Clams here in Singapore.
- Dry white wine is any wine that is not sweet. We like this pasta to have a bit of sauce to slurp up at the end, hence I've used a bit more wine. The amount of wine can be reduced to 125-165 ml (1/2 - 2/3 cup) if desired. Freeze leftover wine in 125 ml (1/2-cup quantities) for future use.
- The dirt that the clams expelled will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Hence instead of just pouring the bowl of clams into a sieve (which will result in the dirt poured back onto the clams), the clams are removed by hand then rinsed.
- Pasta doneness (firm or soft) is up to personal preference, so do adjust the timing accordingly. Just note that the pasta will be cooking for one additional minute with the clams.
- I try to time the cooking of the pasta and the clams to be done at the same time so they can be tossed together quickly without having one to wait for the other. However, some variety of clams may take longer to cook, so you may have to experiment with the timing.
- I stir in the chili flakes later as the chili flakes may burn. You can also use chili padi for a more fiery kick.
- Recipe adapted from NY Times
Full disclosure: I was gifted a box of seafood from Catch of the Day SG. No monetary compensation is received.