Spaghetti with Garlic & Clam Sauce

Spaghetti with Garlic & Clam Sauce

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From: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2013

This healthy spaghetti with clam sauce recipe incorporates a few twists that make it extra-delicious. The clams are steamed ahead of time to release their natural juices and create a flavorful clam broth for the base of the garlicky clam sauce. Plus, we use tarragon to add a fabulous hint of anise.

Ingredients 8 servings

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Original recipe yields 8 servings
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  • 2 heads garlic
  • 28 fresh littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed well
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti or linguine


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  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  2. Peel 1 head of garlic, separate cloves and halve any large ones. Peel the second head and chop all the cloves.
  3. Place clams in a Dutch oven or large saucepan with the cold water. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until the shells just open, 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl as they open, making sure to keep all the juice in the pan. Discard any unopened clams. Reserve 16 whole clams in their shells. Then, working over the pot so you don't lose any of the juice, remove the meat from the remaining clams. Coarsely chop the meat; set aside separately from the whole clams. Pour the clam juice from the pan into a medium bowl, being careful not to include any of the sediment. Rinse and dry the pan.
  4. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in the pan over medium heat. Add all the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the chopped clams and cook for 15 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 15 seconds. Increase heat to high, stir in wine and the reserved clam juice. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring constantly to prevent the flour from clumping. Once it's simmering, reduce the heat to medium and stir in 1 cup parsley, tarragon and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, until slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add crushed red pepper, if using. Add the reserved clams in shells and stir to coat with the sauce.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente, 10 to 13 minutes, or according to package directions. Stir 2 tablespoons of the pasta-cooking water into the clam sauce, then drain the pasta and transfer to a large serving dish. Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and ¼ teaspoon pepper into the pasta. Spoon the clams and sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about ¾ cup pasta, ¼ cup sauce & 2 whole clams
  • Per serving: 371 calories; 10 g fat(1 g sat); 7 g fiber; 50 g carbohydrates; 18 g protein; 60 mcg folate; 22 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 828 IU vitamin A; 20 mg vitamin C; 83 mg calcium; 4 mg iron; 412 mg sodium; 432 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (33% daily value), Iron (22% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 lean meat, 2 fat

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