Sunday, February 22, 2009

Clam Sauce

Gary came home one day last week to discover that we were having spaghetti for supper which made his little tastebuds water in anticipation. He offered to go get some hamburger out of the freezer, but I was planning to serve plain marinara sauce. (Cheaper without meat, y'know!) But he was wanting it a little more dressed up, so he suggested clam sauce too. Clam sauce is more trouble than opening a jar of spaghetti sauce from the store, but easier than thawing and frying up some hamburger. So clam sauce it was.

When we lived in St Louis, we liked the restaurant Spaghetti Factory. Our favorite dinner there was the plate with half red-sauce and half clam-sauce. Over the years, I tried to copy the recipe, and we figured I had come up with something passable. When we patronized the restaurant during a Higher Things conference recently, we were surprised to find that we liked my clam sauce even better than what the restaurant served. Woo hoo!

4 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped.

Whisk* into butter:
1/3 cup flour**

Then stir in till smooth:
1 cup milk
2 cans minced clams***

Cook over medium heat, stirring nearly constantly.
2 or more cloves minced garlic
(or a hefty amount of powdered garlic)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
salt if needed

When thickened, add
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Swiss cheese.

Serve over hot cooked spaghetti.
Makes enough sauce for about 10 ounces of dry spaghetti.

* To make a white sauce or gravy, I prefer not to whisk in the flour and then add the milk. It's easier to place both the milk and the flour into an old peanut butter jar, screw on a lid tightly, and shake it up like crazy. Then pour the liquid/flour mixture into the butter, and continue from there with the sauce or gravy over the heat.

** You gluten-intolerant people can make that 2.5 Tbsp of cornstarch.

*** I usually use the cans that are the size of tuna cans, about 6-7 ounces each. This week I used two 10-oz cans because they were actually cheaper than the smaller ones. (Not per-ounce cheaper, but just cheaper cheaper.) Also, be sure to use the clam juice in the recipe. Do not drain the clams and waste that precious liquid.

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