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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.

slideshow Fast Weekday Pastas

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti, broken into 2-inch lengths
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 3 cups bottled clam broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 dozen littleneck clams, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley


  1. In a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the spaghetti and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and a large pinch of crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the clam broth and water and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and cook over moderate heat until the pasta is barely al dente, about 8 minutes. Nestle the clams into the pasta, cover and cook until the pasta is al dente and the clams open, about 7 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water if the pasta is too dry. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Suggested Pairing

A light, zingy, minerally Albariño from Rías Baixas has the acidity to balance the briny clams.

Contributed By Photo © Quentin Bacon Published February 2005

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