"Robert De Niro likes just about anything that's not complex," says chef Agostino Sciandri of Los Angeles's Ago. "Spaghetti with clams is definitely one of De Niro's favorites, but I've never seen him finish a whole plate. He likes to pick."
Fast Weekday Pastas
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 pounds Manila clams or cockles, scrubbed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup bottled clam juice
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
How to Make It
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti until barely al dente, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain well and return to the pot. Cover with a kitchen towel and keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, combine the olive oil with the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the clams, cover and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the clams open, 5 to 8 minutes. As they open, transfer them to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
Add the wine to the skillet and cook over high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Add the clam juice, parsley and spaghetti and cook, tossing, until the pasta is al dente and most of the broth has been absorbed, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the pasta to a large, deep platter, top with the clams and serve immediately.
The touch of heat in the clam sauce suggests a dry, zesty Pinot Grigio for balance.
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