Clams and Shells

The DamFam vacationed in the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a week this past July.   It was a family reunion of sorts with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins of all ages, all under the roof of one ginormous ocean front house.   Grownups took turns making dinner for the crowd each night and one of the best meals was the one my Aunt Vicki made, which featured the delicious Clams & Shells I’m sharing with you now.
I hope my aunt knows that I’m giving her recipe a shout out here today.  But there’s an excellent chance that she’s sipping espresso at a chic café in Paris, or snoozing in a sleeper car on the Orient Express, or taking in the wildlife on safari in South Africa.  She’s fancy that way.  I’d like to be her when I grow up.

If you keep a few basic ingredients in your pantry and fridge, you’ll be able to enjoy Clams & Shells at practically a moment’s notice.  I love this very simple pasta dish as a main course with a green salad and good bread, but last night we had it as a side to roasted chicken sausages and steamed carrots.  We all love it, and I hope you like it too.

SERVES:  4 as a main dish, 6 as a side
SOURCE:  Vicki Laport

1/2 c. good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. fresh lemon juice (I used slightly less)
2 T. butter
2 cans (minced or whole) clams with their juice (I used 4 cans of minced)
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. dried basil (I used a few generous shakes of Italian Seasoning)
1/4 t. black pepper
2 T. chopped fresh parsley, plus additional for garnish

1 – 7 oz. box seashell pasta (I used a one pound box) – Sendik’s Pastas are on sale
1/4 c. butter, melted (I know, just do it)
1 c. grated Parmesan – Kraft Grated Parmesan is on sale, however as you might expect, I prefer to use Sendik’s Brand Grated Parm’ here

Place a sauté pan over medium high and add the olive oil to the pan.  Saute the garlic in the oil for two to three minutes or until garlic is fragrant and golden, taking care not to burn it.  Stir in the next seven ingredients; bring up to a simmer and allow mixture to cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, cook and drain pasta according to package directions.  Return pasta to pan, toss with melted butter.  Give the clam sauce a stir and pour it over the hot pasta, stirring to blend.  Transfer pasta mixture to a serving dish.  Sprinkle pasta with Parmesan cheese and additional chopped fresh parsley for garnish.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | October 2nd, 2013