Coastal Delight: Outer Banks Spaghetti with Littleneck Clams

Imagine the gentle ocean breeze, the soothing sound of waves crashing on the shore, and the rich aroma of fresh seafood cooking in your kitchen. Welcome to the Outer Banks, where every meal is a celebration of the sea’s bounty.

Today, we’re bringing a piece of this coastal paradise to your table with our Outer Banks Spaghetti with Littleneck Clams. This recipe is a tribute to the simple yet profound flavors that define our shoreline. It’s about more than just food; it’s about capturing the essence of the Outer Banks lifestyle.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1 cup shrimp stock (for pasta water)

Directions:

  1. Enhanced Pasta Water: For an added layer of flavor, fill a large pot with a mix of water and shrimp stock, seasoned with a touch of kosher salt. Bring to a boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente. This method infuses the pasta with a subtle seafood essence, echoing the depth of the ocean.
  2. Aromatic Base: In a large skillet, warm the extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and crushed red pepper, cooking until fragrant. This foundation sets the stage for a dish that’s as rich in flavor as it is in heritage.
  3. Wine & Clams Symphony: Increase the heat to medium-high and add the clams to the skillet, followed by the dry white wine and water. The white wine not only deglazes the pan but also introduces a bright, acidic balance to the briny sweetness of the clams. Cover and steam until the clams open, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Merging Flavors: Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the spaghetti into the skillet with the clam mixture, adding a bit of the reserved pasta water to achieve the desired consistency. Stir gently to ensure the pasta absorbs the symphony of flavors.
  5. Final Touches: Garnish the dish with freshly chopped parsley and a sprinkle of black pepper. The parsley adds a burst of freshness, complementing the rich tapestry of flavors.

Our Outer Banks Spaghetti with Littleneck Clams is more than a meal; it’s an invitation to pause and savor the simple pleasures that life by the sea offers.

Each bite is a reminder of the Outer Banks’ natural beauty, from the rolling waves to the sandy shores and the vibrant community that calls this place home. So gather your loved ones, share this dish, and let the flavors transport you to a world where time moves with the tides, and every meal is a celebration of the sea’s generous gifts.