Spaghetti with Clams and Red Sauce

It has been said that in the 1960′s when Frank Sinatra visited the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port or entertained Mia Farrow in the 1970′s on Martha’s Vineyard, his favorite meal was spaghetti and littleneck clams with fresh tomato sauce.

This recipe is from “The B.A.R.S. Book of Favorite Shellfish Recipes”.  This cookbook with great recipes is available for purchase at
We don’t know whether this is the same recipe Frank enjoyed but we are willing to bet it is delicious.

Spaghetti with Clams and Fresh Tomato Sauce
Serves 6-8

2 cups chopped clams and 12 whole clams
4 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
6 minced garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbls. dried basil or 4 Tbls. fresh basil, chopped
1/8 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine
3 lbs. ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 lbs. thin spaghetti or linguini
Grated Parmesan cheese

Steam the whole clams and prepare the chopped clams in advance.  In a sturdy pot or deep sided frying pan, heat oil and saute onions and garlic until soft.  Blend in the salt, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and pepper.  Add the red wine and tomatoes and stir until well mixed.  Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer, cooking uncovered for about 30 minutes while stirring frequently.  Finally, add the clams and cook another 10 minutes until clams are tender.  Prepare the pasta in a second pot.  Drain and stir a cup or so of sauce into the pasta.  Add generous amounts of sauce to each serving.  Add cheese if desired.  This sauce will freeze well and may be made ahead of time.

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