Strozzapreti with creamy pasta sauce and clams is a simple, elegant, and incredibly easy meal to pull together in about 25 minutes. With just seven ingredients, you’d be really surprised with the amount of flavor that is packed into such a simple, date-night worthy dish. Then again simple dishes always taste the best.
This recipe is inspired by the first lunch I had on an unforgettable Rome trip almost three years ago. In fact, it was one of my favorite meals throughout the entire trip. Especially memorable because our waiter was many adjectives I can’t write here because my mom actually reads this stuff. (don’t worry, many wonderful Italians made up for him along the way). Funny how clearly some of those particular moments get ingrained in our memory.
Anyway, that particular dish contained mussels and shrimp in addition to clams, but I decided to simplify the recipe and focus more on the sauce.
The sauce is a simple marinara-based sauce doctored up with minced garlic, cream and grated Parmesan cheese. It’s a rich and slightly creamy pasta sauce that pairs perfectly with the clams and denser strozzapreti. My go-to kitchen hack is adding cream to store-bought marinara. It’s an easy way to add richness to a dish and tastes so much better than plain marinara.
I LOVE strozzapreti in this because it’s thicker than your typical pasta. It gives the dish more texture and has a homemade pasta feel, unlike your store-bought spaghetti. If you can’t find strozzapreti, something like gemelli will do just fine.
How to Cook Littleneck Clams (steamers)
There are numerous ways to cook clams, all of them being really easy. You can simply steam in water, wine, beer, or my personal fave, marinara sauce. It’s as easy as simmering in a lidded saucepan in whatever sauce or liquid you choose for about 4-5 minutes.
The advantage of cooking the clams right in the marinara is the flavor added to the sauce. The pasta sauce will take on a subtle briny, fresh seafood taste without being gross or overpowering. Lastly, toss in the fully cooked strozzapreti in the creamy sauce and serve with chopped fresh basil.
You’ve got yourself a super easy, authentic-feeling Italian dinner that’s bursting with flavor. Your guests will never think you whipped this up in 25 minutes with only 7 simple ingredients. Mangia!Print
- 12–16 ounces Strozzapreti pasta (gemelli or similar works)
- 20 ounces marinara sauce
- 1 pound littleneck clams
- 1/2 cup light or regular cream
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1–2 cloves garlic
- chopped fresh basil for garnish
- 1/3 cup vodka (optional)
- Rinse clams under cool water. If any remain slightly open and do not shut after a minute, discard as these are dead.
- In a large lidded saucepan, combine marinara, Parmesan, garlic, littleneck clams, and optional vodka. Turn to medium heat, cover, and bring to a simmer. Simmer about 5 minutes or until clams fully open. Reduce to low heat to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Strain pasta and add to the clam and marinara saucepan along with cream, toss until cream and pasta is fully mixed together and takes on a nice orange hue.
- Plate and garnish with freshly chopped basil.