9 Best Briny, Buttery Clam Pastas

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It’s no wonder linguine with white clam sauce remains a classic: plump, salty clams make a great addition to any pasta—plus, the juice from the mollusks makes for an almost instant sauce. Here are nine of F&W’s best briny, buttery clam pastas to add to your recipe files: 

It’s no wonder linguine with white clam sauce remains a classic: plump, salty clams make a great addition to any pasta—plus, the juice from the mollusks makes for an almost instant sauce. Here are nine of F&W’s best briny, buttery clam pastas to add to your recipe files: 

1. Fregola with Clams
Fregola—also known as fregula—is the missing link between pasta from Italy and couscous from North Africa. It is made from semolina, like couscous, but is cooked in ample liquid, like pasta.

2. Linguine with Clams and Fennel
Cooking clams with sautéed fennel and leeks infuses them with flavor. They’re fanastic with this chile-laced pasta from chef Erling Wu-Bower.

3. Spaghetti with Clams and Braised Greens
To give spaghetti with fresh clam sauce more flavor, chef Ashley Christensen purees sweet roasted bell peppers into the spicy, briny broth.

4. Bucatini with Clams and Red Peppers
This riff on pasta with clams features strips of sweet roasted pepper, toasted walnuts and fresh herbs, along with Middle Eastern flavors like pomegranate molasses and cumin.

5. Toasted Spaghetti with Clams
Ferran Adrià credits the idea for this dish to one of his acolytes, Moreno Cedroni, the hyper-creative Italian chef at La Madonnina del Pescatore in Italy's Marzocca di Senigallia. The method is very similar to risotto, but spaghetti fills in for the arborio rice: Adrià toasts it in a pan with a little oil, then adds hot clam juice until the pasta is fully cooked and loaded with briny flavor.

6. Linguine with Clams and Chorizo
Adding highly seasoned chorizo to a classic linguine with clam sauce really heightens the flavor of the dish. A little squeeze of lemon gives the sauce just enough acid to cut through the richness of the chorizo and highlight the brininess of the clams.

7. Spaghetti with Clams and Garlic
This exquisite, supersimple pasta is packed with garlic and a judicious amount of crushed red pepper. If you prefer, shell the clams before tossing them with their juices in the pasta.

8. Linguine with Red Clam Sauce
Bright, salty and packed with bits of chopped clams, this hearty, superquick pasta is a great weeknight dinner. 

9. Spicy Tonnarelli with Clams
This simple pasta pairs clams with spicy coppa, red pepper and garlic. 

Related: More Fast Weekday Pastas
22 Delicious Seafood Pastas
23 Quick Pasta Recipes

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