Pasta With Shrimp, Clams, Lemon and Garlic 6.000

James M. Thresher for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Jan 13, 2010

The garlicky sauce created in this recipe does a good imitation of creamy, with just a little cream cheese and some cornstarch magic. Lemon juice and clam juice add just the right piquancy. Here, we've replaced some of the original recipe's shrimp with chopped clams, which reduces the cholesterol in the dish and amplifies the seafood power. (Clams are fairly inexpensive and a fine source of Vitamin B12 and iron; when's the last time you had some?)

The pasta gets even creamier with a day's refrigeration, so think 4 servings plus leftovers.

We found Cape Cod brand chopped clams in the refrigerated seafood case at Whole Foods Market.

Wine columnist Dave McIntyre suggests serving this with a crisp white wine, such as a Falanghina from Italy or Assyrtico from Greece.

Servings: 6
  • 1 pound dried whole-wheat linguine or thin-shaped pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium onion
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • Leaves from 8 to 10 sprigs thyme
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bottles (16 ounces total) clam juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 or 4 large lemons
  • Leaves from 6 stems flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature (do not use nonfat)
  • 12 extra-large cooked (peeled and deveined) shrimp, defrosted
  • 8 ounces chopped clams, such as Cape Cod brand (see headnote), drained (may substitute 8 to 10 ounces of additional cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp)
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and return it to the (dry) pot, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, cut the onion into small dice (about 1 cup). Mince the garlic cloves (about 2 1/2 tablespoons) and the thyme leaves (2 teaspoons).

Combine the onion and oil and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened. Add the garlic, thyme and crushed red pepper flakes, stirring to incorporate; cook for 30 seconds, then add the chicken broth, clam juice and bay leaf. Increase the heat to medium; once the mixture begins to bubble at the edges, cook for 7 to 10 minutes, at which point the liquid/sauce should have reduced to 2 cups.

While the sauce is cooking, squeeze the lemons to yield 1/2 cup of juice. Chop the parsley to yield 2 tablespoons.

Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, then whisk it into the skillet. Cook for about 2 minutes, whisking, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat.

Whisk in the lemon juice and cream cheese, mixing until well incorporated (this may take a few minutes if the cream cheese was not at room temperature). Add the shrimp and clams, then cover tightly and return the skillet to low heat until the shrimp and clams are warmed through. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Cover to keep warm.

Add the shrimp-sauce mixture and the chopped parsley to the pasta in the pot, tossing gently to combine. Cover and let sit for 1 minute; add some or all of the reserved 1/2 cup of cooking water as needed if the mixture is too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide among individual wide shallow bowls; serve immediately.

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Recipe Source

Based on a recipe from "Light & Healthy 2010" by the editors of America's Test Kitchen (ATK, 2010).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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