This is best eaten outside with an ocean view. If you can't swing that, then at least try to secure the freshest clams possible. We often forego the pasta and just have the clams, soaking up the briny broth with crusty bread.


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Few shakes of red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 24 to 36 fresh clams (we usually use littlenecks), rinsed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Handful of chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, and chives
  • Handful of chopped fresh tomatoes (any kind)
  • Handful of corn off the cob (optional)


Make the spaghetti according to the package directions. In a separate large stock-pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat, sauté the shallot, garlic, pepper flakes, and black pepper in the oil. (It's not necessary to salt—the clams are naturally briny.)

Add the clams, wine, and herbs. When the clams steam open (10 to 15 minutes), add the tomatoes and corn (if using) and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Discard any clams that haven't opened and then toss the whole thing with pasta, making sure to scoop lots of the broth into the bowl. Serve with crusty bread for sopping.

From Dinner: A Love Story (HarperCollins) by Jenny Rosenstrach.

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