Pantry meal options are great, especially for those times when you're in dire need of a grocery run but still want real food. You know those days—the empty refrigerator vegetable drawer, virtual tumbleweeds careening past the 100% cranberry juice and the kefir that you thought someone would like. No viable dinner choices—just a whole frozen chicken, some dried chickpeas, and that questionable item in the freezer that you think might have once been soup. If you stock your pantry, you'll be ready for days like these! This recipe is easy and pulls together quickly. All you need are a few items.
The key to making this meal fast is to cook everything simultaneously—the sauce cooks while the water and pasta boil. After you put up the water, heat your skillet on low and mince some garlic. How much? I usually use three to four regular-sized cloves—I don’t think you can go wrong by making this dish garlicky. If you're hesitant with the garlic, by all means, go light. Put some olive oil in the pan—about three tablespoons will do it. Stir in the garlic, watching it closely so it doesn’t burn. You don’t want the garlic to darken at all. When that happens, it gets bitter, and there’s no salvaging it. You have to throw it out and start over, which kind of negates your efforts to make a quick dinner.
While the garlic is lightly simmering, open your canned clams—do not drain them; you need the juice for the sauce. Just open the cans and put them by the stove. After the garlic has been cooking for two or three minutes, add the canned tomatoes and carefully drain the clam juice into the pan. The tops of the cans should let you just press the juice out. Be careful—if you have any sharp points on the cans, or if you have a can opener that slices your cans open differently, use a colander or strainer to collect the clam juice. Don't add the clams to the pan yet; clams get rubbery if they’re cooked too long. Raise the heat to medium-high, and let the sauce simmer away. You can add parsley flakes at this point—a few good shakes or a couple tablespoons should do it. If you like it spicy, add red pepper flakes.
When the water boils, add the linguine and cook it according to the package directions, or until it’s cooked to your desired softness. Occasionally stir the sauce.
Add the clams to the clam sauce when you drain the pasta. When the sauce has been brought back to a boil, toss it with the pasta. Add a dark leafy green salad (if you have it), and serve with freshly grated Romano cheese.
Many people buy pre-grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. As we now know from recent news stories, for some reason certain companies thought it would be a good idea to add wood pulp to the grated cheese, and label it as 100% cheese. Who decided that wood pulp was a good substitute for cheese, I don’t know. It might be a little more effort to grate your own cheese, but there is an advantage—you know it’s cheese. You might even burn a few calories in the grating process. Just a thought.
Whether you’re trying to eat less meat, are a Pescatarian, or simply like seafood, consider making Easy Pantry Linguine and Clam Sauce for dinner soon!
Easy Pantry Linguine and Clam Sauce
1 Pound linguine
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3-4 Cloves garlic, minced
4 6.5-oz. cans minced or chopped clams
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. parsley flakes (or to taste; optional)
Dash Red pepper flakes (optional)
Romano Cheese, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until desired consistency.
Meanwhile, heat oil on low heat. Add garlic and cook until tender, about 2 – 3 minutes. Add clam juice drained from canned clams, canned tomatoes, parsley flakes, and red pepper flakes, if desired. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes (while pasta cooks). Add clams and bring to a boil. Combine sauce and pasta. Serve with freshly grated Romano Cheese, salt and pepper.
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