I tend to keep roma tomatoes on hand when they are in season, but honestly, a can of whole or crushed tomatoes will get the job done nicely in a pinch.
Since I tend to do most, if not all, of our cooking for the holidays, I like to simplify our evening meals this time of year. I can't organize my grocery shopping to buy what's needed for the Thanksgiving table and make sure I have enough ingredients on hand for the other nights of the week. I'm just not that gifted. And the fridge doesn't really hold that much. Plus, when I'm thinking about turkeys and corn casseroles and roasted acorn squash and baking, baking, baking, dinner has got to be a no-brainer.
And that's why I love this meal.
Here's what you need to get started:
1 box of spaghetti, linguini or long twirl-able pasta of your choice
1-2 cans of chopped or minced clams w/ juice
4-6 roma tomatoes
generous handful of finely chopped fresh parsley
red pepper flakes
Put a pot of water on to boil and cook the spaghetti according to package directions.
While the spaghetti is cooking, chop the tomatoes. I like a small-ish diced cut.
Once the tomatoes are chopped/diced, swirl some olive oil in a heavy pan and let it heat for about a minute. Pour in the clams and add the tomatoes and garlic to the pan. Season with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and if you like a little bite, sprinkle in some red pepper flakes.
Let it simmer for about 10 minutes or so (until the pasta is cooked and the tomatoes soften), then throw in the parsley.
Take the pan off the heat. Drain the spaghetti. And mix the sauce and pasta together. I do this in the same pan I cook the sauce in, but you can use a fancy bowl if you like.
Sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese and enjoy!!
One of the nice things about this meal, is that I can hold some spaghetti aside for my son, who still prefers his serving with nothing more than butter and cheese.
A word on amounts: If you are preparing a pound of pasta, you may want to use two cans of clams and a couple extra tomatoes. Too much sauce is never a problem with this meal, but not enough can feel skimpy. The sauce is very broth-like and one my favorite things, besides sopping it up with a good piece of crusty Italian bread, is to scoop up what's left in my bowl with a spoon.
I'll probably make this once a week or so right up through the New Year. It's the kind of thing I can throw together after a day of baking or when we need a change of pace from holiday leftovers. My mother-in-law, by the way, makes it the same way only she omits the tomatoes and the red pepper flakes. Her version is even simpler than mine and just as delicious!!