Shrimp and Littleneck clams combine with a tangy white wine sauce to create a casual crowd pleasing dinner.
It’s beginning to get cooler here in Virginia and all those cool nights have me craving a cozy sweater, a glass of Chardonnay, and clams. I love this meal. It combines my love of shellfish with deliciously filling pasta and a decadent white wine sauce that is rich and tangy. This dish is a showstopper and great for a casual crowd of people. Serve it with a simple arugula side salad and of course crusty bread for sopping up all that amazing sauce. If clams aren’t your thing you could leave them out and substitute in another pound of shrimp, or mussels.
I use the shrimp shells simmering in wine and water to make a seafood stock that is used to flavor the dish. Don’t throw out those shells! They are a simple and easy way to add additional flavor into your sauce.
- 1 lb shrimp, shells in tact
- 50 ct live fresh littleneck clams (50 ct is usually what is in those net bags)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¾ C white wine
- ¾ C water
- ¼ C chopped parsley, plus additional for garnish
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 anchovy fillets, minced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- lemon wedges for garnish
- Wash and scrub your clams to get rid of any sand or dirt on the shells. I like to do this when I bring them home. I also soak them in cold salty water to let them purge any sand in them. I usually soak them for an hour or so.
- Peel the shrimp keeping the tails on and reserving the shells in a bowl. Set the shrimp aside.
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add in the olive oil and heat until shimmery. Put the shrimp shells into the pan and allow them to cook for about five minutes or so. They should turn from opaque to a pretty pink color. After five minutes, add in the water and wine. Let this come up to a boil and then simmer until it is reduced to half. About 7-10 minutes. You should have just under a cup of liquid in the pan. This is your stock. Pour the liquid into a small strainer set over a bowl. Discard the shells left in the strainer and set the stock aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the pasta and cook according to package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, in the same saute pan used for the stock, heat 1 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add in the garlic cloves, anchovies, and red pepper flakes. Let that cook until fragrant about one minute. Sprinkle with ½ tsp kosher salt. Add in the lemon zest, juice, shrimp stock and parsley. Add in the two additional tbsp of butter and whisk to combine. Add in the clams and cover the pot.Cook for about 3-5 minutes until the clams are just beginning to open. Add the shrimp, cover the pot again, and cook for an additional 2 minutes until the shrimp are no longer opaque and just pink in color and all your clams are open.
- Drain the pasta and add it back to the large pot you were just boiling it in. Add in the clams, shrimp and all their sauces and toss to combine. Serve in the large pot or a large serving dish. Sprinkle with more parsley and fresh lemon wedges.