Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Clams

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This easy, healthful, and tasty seafood pasta dish will satisfy your family and friends with the beauty of simplicity…and flavor!

Pasta dishes don’t need to be heavy to be satisfying. Overloading the noodles with too much meat, lots of cheese, and thick sauces detracts from the lightness—and healthfulness—of the pasta itself. Seafood pasta dishes, especially, should be kept light and flavorful with just a couple main fish or shellfish ingredients and some little “extras” to highlight the seafood, not cover it up.

Simple, Flavorful Pasta Sauces

If you like to create your own pasta sauces, you know that keeping it simple not only makes the job easier, but, more importantly, you can maximize the flavors of whatever few ingredients you’re using. I chose shrimp and clams for this recipe, but a variety of fish or shellfish would work well in it. For instance, mussels, crab, cod, or scallops would make flavorful choices.

The key is to use just a couple ingredients that complement each other, and then choose seasonings, sauce liquids, and any vegetables that also pair well with the seafood. The sauce here is made up of only olive oil, butter, and clam juice—nothing heavy for light shrimp and clams.

Canned Clams vs. Fresh Clams

Using fresh clams (or mussels) in pasta dishes is great, but it can be a little expensive if you’re serving four or more. If you choose to use fresh shellfish and can purchase it in bulk, remember to “over-buy” the number you need of each item for the number of pieces you want to serve each guest.

For instance, if you’d like to serve each person five clams and there are four diners total, you may want to buy more than 20 clams to account for the ones that don’t open and will have to be discarded. If you choose to purchase clams in a can, try to find wild caught baby clams from a top-quality brand.

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Clams

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb angel hair pasta
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 green or red bell pepper, cut into short slivers
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 lb wild caught large shrimp
  • 10-oz can wild caught boiled baby clams (such as Crown Prince)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley

Preparation

  1. Boil the pasta in salted water 4-5 minutes.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the bell pepper and saute 3 minutes.
  3. Melt the butter in the skillet and add the shrimp, clams, garlic, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and sauté 2 minutes, until shrimp is cooked through.
  4. Add the clam juice and reduce the heat to low. Warm 3 minutes.
  5. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Toss with the shrimp and clam mixture.
  6. Divide the pasta among 4-5 bowls. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with chopped parley.

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