Clam Spaghetti with Tomatoes & Breadcrumbs
1 lb Spaghetti
¼ cup unseasoned breadcrumbs (pulse day old Sadie Rose Bread in your food processor until fine, we suggest Country French)
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for drizzling, if desired)
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 lb tomatoes on the vine (you can use any kind, but the smaller varieties, like grape and cherry are best), coarsely chopped
3 dozen little neck clams, scrubbed clean
1 cup white wine (chicken stock works in a pinch!)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons bottarga (optional, a Mediterranean delicacy, very popular in Sicily. It is salted and cured fish roe, usually from tuna).
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper
First toast the breadcrumbs. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs, a ¼ teaspoon salt and a little black pepper. Toss frequently as the breadcrumbs toast so that they don’t burn.
In about 3 minutes, they will nicely brown and you can remove them from the heat, setting them aside in a small dish.
Heat the rest of the olive oil in a larger skillet over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic cloves, the crushed red pepper and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper.
Simmer the garlic for about 3 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and a ½ tsp salt. Stir and reduce the heat to medium-low, allowing the tomatoes to break down and form a light sauce, about 12 minutes.
In the meantime, bring a large stock pot filled with water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and the spaghetti and cook until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
Add the clams to the tomatoes in the skillet along with the wine, lemon juice and half of the freshly chopped herbs. Cover the skillet and allow the clams to steam cook (their shells will open), about 6-8 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open.
Add the drained pasta and the bottarga to the tomatoes and clams and toss to combine. Add about ¼ cup of the pasta water (you can add more if the sauce seems dry) and cook for 2 more minutes.
Serve immediately in separate dishes. Sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs on top, along with any remaining fresh herbs.
Photo courtesy of and recipe adapted from www.colavita.com