Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Spaghetti With Clams

Wednesday, April 04, 2018
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert

Yield 1 serving

I made this recipe for just one serving in case you don’t have too many guests. This dish is really good, be selfish and enjoy it alone. Littleneck clams are members of the Veneridae family, a large family of mollusks that includes many commercially valuable species. “Littleneck” is not a taxonomic classification, and people use it in varying ways in different parts of the world to refer to several different clam species. This can be both confusing and irritating, although most clams referred to with this name share a number of characteristics that make them very similar on the table, although they are found in different regions of the world.

Ingredients

Salt

8 to 12 littleneck or other small clams in the shell, scrubbed

¼ pound spaghetti

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ to 1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup fresh tomato, peeled, seeded, chopped

½ dried red chili pepper or 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

⅓ cup Noilly Prat or other vermouth or white wine

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Preparation

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, soak clams in cold water for 20 minutes to remove sand. Add spaghetti to boiling water, and cook until slightly underdone; pasta will finish cooking in sauce. Meanwhile, place a large saucepan over medium-low heat, and add olive oil, garlic, chopped tomatoes and chili pepper. Sauté gently, reducing heat if necessary so garlic does not brown. Add vermouth and clams, and cover. Clams should open in about 2 minutes. (If pasta is ready first, drain it and toss with a small amount of olive oil.)

Add hot drained pasta, cover, and shake pot gently. Allow to simmer for another 1 or 2 minutes until it is done to taste. Discard any clams that have not opened. Add half the parsley, and shake pan to distribute evenly. Transfer to a plate or bowl, and sprinkle with remaining parsley.

Clams info

Clams are bivalve mollusks, meaning that they have a two part shell with a more or less symmetrical top and bottom. They are also roughly circular in shape, in contrast with more oblong edible mollusks like soft-shell clams. The shell is usually ridged, sometimes quite deeply, and it is pale gray to green in color. The inside houses the soft body of the clam, which is surrounded by watery blood, as clams and other mollusks have an open circulatory system. People have eaten various mollusks for centuries, both raw and cooked and in a wide range of recipes. In the case of littleneck clams, people burrow for the shells in intertidal zones or estuaries, where the mollusks bury themselves in deep sand and mud, filtering tidal waters for nutrients and necessary oxygen. Clams can be steamed, fried, boiled, sautéed, or roasted as part of a stuffing in a larger animal like a turkey. Littleneck clams are also hard shelled, meaning that their shells are firm and tough to crack. So-called “soft-shelled” clams have more brittle shells that are subject to breakage, although they are far from soft in the conventional sense. In some regions of the world, people refer to small versions of quahog clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) as "littleneck." In the Pacific Northwest, many people call the Pacific Clam (Prothothaca staminea) a “common littleneck.”

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog

  • Frozen Yogurt

    Where: WooBerry

    Address: 141 Highland Street

    WooBerry is locally owned and is the home to 19 delicious flavors of frozen yogurt. This place is the epitome of everything that is right in this world - delicious and low in calories.

    WooBerry is one of the few actual places on this list where you can't go wrong with anything you get. Don't forget about the literally millions of toppings to choose from (not literally).

     
  • Ravioli Roma Burger

    Where: Brew City

    Address: 104 Shrewsbury Street

    One of many Shrewsbury Street restuarants on this list, Brew City is known for its great burgers. In our opinion, there's none better than the Ravioli Roma.

    The Raviola Roma is a black angus burger with a giant five-cheese filled fried ravioli topped with marinara sauce and provolone cheese. 

    In a nutshell, it's a lot of great cheese.

    Photo Credit: Thao L. - Yelp

     
  • Roast Beef Sandwich

    Where: New England Roast Beef

    Address: 33 Park Avenue, Worcester 

    The best roast beef sandwich in Worcester is, of course, found at New England Roast Beef (It should be though, right?).

    The "Super Beef" comes loaded with roast beef and on an onion roll. 

    The beer battered fries and onion rings are nice addition to the sandwich. 

     
  • Fried Pickles

    Where: Smokestack Urban BBQ

    Address: 139 Green Street

    When Smokestack opened up, the fried pickles were like an exotic fruit in this city. And let's be honest, that really hasn't changed.

    If you think of fried pickles, you think think of Smokestack. And we always think of fried pickles. 

    Salty and delicious with a special sauce (We tried to make our own at home, it wasn't the same), fried pickles are an absolute must. 

     
  • Chinese Food

    Where: Dragon Dynasty

    Address: 104 Highland Street

    Like WooBerry (also on Highland Street, weird) we suggest everything on the Dragon Dynasty menu.

    Unless you're allergic to something on the menu, you can't go wrong.

    Recommendations: Szechuan Chicken, and Kung Pao Shrimp.

    Do your family a favor, pick-up some Chinese food at Dragon Dynasty tonight and let's go crazy and grab some Fro-Yo down the street at WooBerry.

    GoLocalWorcester = Your Saturday Night solved.

    Image: Amber S. - Yelp

     
  • Donuts

    Where: Boston Donuts

    Address: 338 Park Avenue

    If this were a list of the 25 best things to drink in Worcester before you die, Boston Donuts coffee would be at the top of the list. 

    But we're talking donuts here. With 40 flavors of donuts made fresh daily, Boston Donuts is above and beyond the best place to get your donut fix in the Woo.

    Recommendations: Jelly Sticks, Reese's

     
  • Lobster

    Where: The Sole Proprieter

    Address: 118 Highland Street

    Nothing like following up donuts with some fresh lobster. But that's what we're doing.

    The freshest seafood in arguably the best restuarant in the city, the Sole's lobster is the best lobster you can find in Worcester County. Maybe even in the whole state of Massachusetts.

    Splurge for the New England Lobster Bake. You can't go wrong.

     
  • Cannoli

    Where: Wholly Cannoli

    Address: 490 Grafton Street 

    Sticking lobster in between two desserts is crazy.

    A cannoli from Wholly Cannoli = the event of the year...for your mouth. 

    With 44 cannoli flavors, how can you go wrong?

     
  • Meatball Sandwich

    Where: Vincent's

    Address: 49 Suffolk Street

    Vincent's Meatball Sandwich is the stuff of legend. It's just about the only thing Vincent's serves, but when you try one, you won't want anything else.

    There's no website, but here are the hours in case you have a hankering.

    Monday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.- 2 a.m., Sunday 1:00 p.m. - 2 a.m.

     
  • Italian Sandwich

    Where: Regatta Deli

    Address: 28 Lake Avenue

    This sandwich is absolutely loaded with meat on delicous Italian bread.

    It's enormous and it's only $5.00. 

    Genoa Salami, Imported Ham, Provolone Cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and Regatta's dressing on their famous half loaf Italian bread.

    A member of GoLocal's 10 Things You Must Do in Worcester Before You Die, we wrote, "A Worcester classic. If you plan on catching the Regatta Races this summer on Lake Quinsigamond, plan on working up an appetite. Lucky for you, right across the street is the Regatta Deli where they serve their famous Regatta Italian grinders."

     
  • Sushi

    Where: Baba Sushi

    Address: 309 Park Ave, Worcester

    The highly acclaimed Baba Restaurant & Sushi Bar has been winning awards for over seven years.

    And rightfully so. 

    Ask anyone in Worcester where you can find the best sushi, and again and again, the answer is always "Baba."

    If great Sushi isn’t enough to bring you in for a taste, perhaps you’ll be interested in the weekly Sushi making classes Baba offers every Sunday.

     
  • Meatballs

    Where: Parkway Diner

    Address: 148 Shrewsbury Street

    Parkway's meatballs are what make their sandwiches and entrees perfect. They're homemade and it has been the same recipe for many years now.

    The best part? You can get a meatball sandwich for breakfast if you want. Or a meatball omelette.

     
  • Cupcakes

    Where: Sweet Restaurant & Bar

    Address: 72 Shrewsbury Street

    It's everyone's (our) dream come true - a bar filled with cupcakes and desserts. 

    Everything at Sweet is made from scratch, including it's famous award-winning cupcakes. 

    Indulge yourself - it is well worth the trip.

     
  • Nachos

    WhereThe Banner

    Address: 112 Green Street

    There isn't a bigger serving of nachos in the whole city. The Banner calls these nachos "a mountain" topped with cheese, jalapenos, olives and onions. And they aren't kidding.

     
  • Pizza

    Where: The Wonder Bar

    Address: 121 Shrewsbury Street

    One of GoLocalWorcester's 15 to Watch in 2015, the Wonder Bar re-opened this summer under new ownership and successfully fulfilled the promise that they would keep the same pizza recipe.

    The Prizio family now runs the 85-year-old Worcester staple and continue to serve the best pizza in a city filled with great pizza.

     
  • Hot Dogs

    Where: Coney Island

    Address: 158 Southbridge Street, Worcester

    One of the most obvious selections for this list, there's no better way truly experience Worcester than to have your hot dogs smothered in yellow mustard, chili sauce and chopped onions.

     
  • New York Sirloin

    Where: 111 Chop House

    Address: 111 Shrewsbury Street

    The 111's famouse Prime New York sirloin is comes in 8 oz, 14 oz and 20 oz (that's the big boy).

    You won't find a better piece of meat in the city. Like the Sole (same owners) with seafood, the Chop House rivals any steak house in the state. 

    Image: Kevin S. - Yelp

     
  • Egg Rolls

    Where: Ho Toy Luau Restaurant

    Address: 401 Park Avenue

    This place may not look like an exceptional restuarant from the outside because it's a throwback to a better time (probably the 1970s).

    They have the single greatest egg roll in the entire city.

    As one of our writers put it, "It's unique. It's golden crusted. It's delicious."

     
  • The Ivory Tusk

    Where: Flying Rhino

    Address: 278 Shrewsbury Street

    Served on toasted Italian bread, the Ivory Tusk is Flying Rhino's most famous sandwich. It's chicken cheese steak loaded with caramelized onions and American cheese.

    Be ready to bring an appetite because the Tusk is filling...in a good way.

     
  • Guacamole

    Where: Mezcal Cantina

    Address: 30 Major Taylor Blvd

    Mezcal's fresh guac is made to order and this stuff could put on a fake mustache and pose as a full meal. We recommend getting the flight - three different styles of guac with endless chips.

    • HOUSE avocado, onion, tomato, lime, cilantro, jalapeño 
    • CRUNCHY toasted pepitas, smoked almonds, diced jicama, fried corn nuts 
    • MEDITERRANEAN sun-dried tomato, kalamata olive, feta, fresh herb, garlic olive oil 
    • THAI ROOSTER dried pineapple, toasted coconut, black beans, fiery Sriracha sauce 
    • TROPICAL papaya, mango, roasted cashews 
    • BREAKFAST BURNER bacon, hard cooked egg, bleu cheese, red hot sauce 
    • BUFFALO CHICKEN grilled chicken, hot sauce, blue cheese, celery and carrot
     
  • Tacos

    Where: Sol of Mexico

    Address: 538 Pleasant Street 

    Worcester Fire Fighter John Tangney calls this place "The best kept secret in Worcester."

    Great, now everyone knows about it.

    Sol of Mexico may seem small on the outside, but once you get in you'll be thoroughly impressed by its extensive menu of authentic Mexican cuisine. It includes many chicken, seafood, beef and veggie plates with all the trimmings and all the styles one should expect. Also try their special Mexican Hot Chocolate and Churros special during the winter months as well as fruit smoothies.

     
  • Spinach Artichoke Dip

    Where: Funky Murphy's 

    Address: 305 Shrewsbury Street

    There's plenty of great spinach and artichoke dips in this city (see: The Boynton), but Funky's does something that very few places do - warm pita bread chips.

    The dip is fresh and homemade and we are guaranteeing you will like it (not responsible if you don't).

     
  • Lobster Corn Chowder

    Where: Bushel N Peck

    Address643 Chandler Street 

    The fall is coming, and that means the cool weather, too. However, you can still warm up and enjoy some lobster in the coming months. 

    "Our original recipe Lobster Corn Chowder has won the competition for best chowder in Blackstone Valley two years running. We serve it at all three of our locations every Friday."- Michael Ashley, Chef/Manager

     
  • Ice Cream

    Where: Gibby's Dairy Farm

    Address: 50 Sunderland Road

    There's no better place in Central Massachusetts to get your ice cream fix than Gibby's in Worcester.

    With more than 60 flavors of ice cream, you can't go wrong.

    Indulge in several more scoops of the areas best ice cream before summer comes to a close.

    Image: Thao L./Yelp

     

X

Stay Connected — Free
Daily Email