All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Asari to asupara no pasuta / pasta with clams and asparagus

Pairing ingredients that are in season is always a great idea. Juicy sliced asparagus is added to pasta alle vongole for a superb marriage of flavors.

1/2 of recipe:
489 calories; 25.9 g protein; 9.1 g fat; 72.3 g carbohydrate; 67.9 g net crabs; 663 mg sodium; 24.0 mg cholesterol; 4.4 g fiber


160-180 g pasta (180 g fettuccine in photo)
Handful clams (17 relatively small clams; 400 g with shells in photo)
Handful asparagus (168 g in photo)
1 sprig parsley
1 clove garlic
1 taka no tsume red chili pepper (slices)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp salt (to boil pasta; not in photo)

Start boiling pasta water.


Remove skin of garlic.
Thinly slice asparagus lengthwise (2-3 mm thick).
Finely chop parsley.


In a frying pan, put olive oil and garlic, and saute on medium low heat until lightly golden.
Tilt pan so that garlic is immersed in oil. 

When garlic starts turning golden, add red chili pepper.


When pasta water boils, add salt, and cook pasta.

Check pasta package for cooking time. Aim to drain pasta 1 minute before cooking time indicated on package.
Here, the package says 6 minutes, so draining after 5 minutes is the goal.


Raise heat to medium, add clams, and cover.

When 60-70% of clams open, remove from heat (keep covered).


When pasta is nearly ready, put clams back on heat.
Take one or two ladles of pasta cooking water, add to clams, and shake pan to emulsify.


30-60 seconds before draining pasta, add asparagus to pasta pot.

When pasta is ready, drain together.


Shake off excess water once again, and add pasta and asparagus to clams.
Mix well.


Plate, and sprinkle parley.

  • Choose pasta whose width matches asparagus (linguine for thinner asparagus, for example).
  • Other than asparagus, nanohana field mustard (photo at right), broccoli raab and cabbage go really well with this pasta.
  • If less asparagus or other vegetable is used, this dish becomes similar to typical pasta alle vongole.
  • While pasta alle vongole recipes often call for white wine, I skipped it above partly to maximize the saltiness from clams and also because the juice from fresh clams already tastes great.
  • Some points to note about sodium:
    • Shells are estimated to make up 60% (compared to 70+% in other sources) of total clam weight in the calculations above (weight of clam meat is assumed to be 80g per serving).
    • Sodium absorbed by pasta from cooking in salted water is assumed to be 180mg per serving. In other words, sodium content can be much lower if salt is skipped in pasta cooking water.
    • Sodium content of clams can be reduced by soaking them in warm water (50 C/122 F) for several minutes before cooking (this process also removes clams' flavor to some degree).

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