Traditional spaghettini dish gets a fresh flavor in this recipe

Credit: Linda Gassenheimer

Credit: Linda Gassenheimer

This spaghettini in a clam sauce is flavorful and easy to make. Adding raw tomatoes, scallions, basil and tarragon gives an unexpected fresh taste to this traditional Italian dish. Spaghettini is very thin spaghetti.

When buying clams, look for shells that are tightly closed. At home, tap any shells that are open. They should close; if not, discard them. Store clams in the refrigerator loosely covered with a clean towel. Use them within one or two days. Scrub the shells under cold water before cooking them.

Helpful Hints:

— Spaghetti or linguine can be used instead of spaghettini.

— Mussels can be used instead of clams.

— A quick way to chop fresh herbs and to slice scallions is to snip them with a scissors.

— Shorten your prep time with diced tomatoes found in the produce section of the market.


— Place water for pasta on to boil.

— Prepare clams.

— Cook clams.

— Cook pasta and complete the dish.

Shopping List

Here are the ingredients you'll need for tonight's Dinner in Minutes.

To buy: 1 box spaghettini, 1 bottle clam juice, 1 bottle dry white wine, 2 pounds little neck clams, 2 medium tomatoes, 1 small bunch fresh basil, 1 small bunch scallions, 1 jar dried tarragon and 1 bag washed, ready-to-eat Italian-style salad.

Staples: olive oil, garlic, reduced-fat Italian dressing, salt and black peppercorns.


6 ounces spaghettini

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use

4 medium garlic cloves, crushed

\ cup bottled clam juice

\ cup dry white wine

2 pounds little neck clams

2 cups diced ripe tomatoes

2 scallions, thinly sliced

\ cup snipped fresh basil leaves

2 teaspoons dried tarragon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spaghettini and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until it is wilted, 2 minutes. Add the clam juice and wine. Cover with a lid, raise the heat to medium-low and simmer for 3 minutes to blend the flavors. Add the clams, cover and simmer, shaking the pan until they open, about 5 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open.

Transfer clams and their juices to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes and scallions to the bowl and toss. Sprinkle with the basil and tarragon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss lightly to combine.

Divide the spaghettini between 2 shallow bowls. Top with the clams and tomato sauce. Serve immediately.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 565 calories (25 percent from fat), 16 g fat (2.4 g saturated, 6.8 g monounsaturated), 20 mg cholesterol, 23.5 g protein, 77.3 g carbohydrates, 5.6 g fiber, 489 mg sodium.


4 cups washed, ready-to-eat Italian-style salad

2 tablespoons reduced-fat Italian dressing

Place salad in a bowl and toss with the dressing.

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 27 calories (41 percent from fat), 1.2 g fat (0.1 g saturated, 0.3 g monounsaturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 1.2 g protein, 3.8 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 12 mg sodium.

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