This recipe is so dear to me that I will be telling you how to make it entirely from memory. When I was growing up, there were a few go to meals my mom knew we (my three brothers and I) would devour. Pizza, of course. Hamburgers. Steak. (See? Always was a meat eater!) And then two pasta recipes. The first, pasta with ham and broccoli, we’re still working out (It’s hard to get an uncured ham steak that tastes just right!), but my favorite meal growing up was linguine with clam sauce.
I know! Not typical kids’ fare. But we’ve tried this out on our kids time and time again, and it truly works for all kids so far. We use spaghetti squash for the noodles, but for those unable to find it, a good alternative would be blanched zucchini strips. The sauce is essentially my own mother’s recipe with some minor changes as I evolved it, for this generation of dairy-free, grain-free brothers.
“Linguine” with Clam Sauce
1 medium spaghetti squash, halved
1/3 C light olive oil (or lard)
1 medium onion (not red), diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 C white wine (or apple juice)
2 14 oz cans whole baby clams, juice reserved (you could theoretically use whole clams in shell and clam juice, but the baby clams are easier and less expensive!)
2 Tbsp lard
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- ♥ Place squash halves cut side down on a lipped baking sheet, add a 1/4″ of water and roast for 45 minutes at 350 degrees (You can steam it in a microwave, but roasting it dries it slightly, allowing it to soak up the sauce in this recipe)
- In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat
- Saute onions and garlic until soft, about 6 minutes
- Add cayenne and stir to incorporate
- ♥ Pour in wine and juice from clams, increase heat to high
- Boil for about 10 minutes to reduce liquid, ♥ stirring frequently
- Reduce heat to medium and add clams, stir for five minutes
- ♥ Scoop hot “noodles” out of squash and into serving bowl, toss with lard and parsley
- ♥ Pour sauce on top, stir to combine and serve!
Surprisingly, the cayenne here is not overwhelming and our kids love the flavor. If you want it more or less spicy, change as you see fit.
Serves 4-6, depending on squash size and the appetite of whom you may be feeding. We suggest a salad or roasted asparagus (our recipe, “Nature’s Spears” can be found in Eat Like a Dinosaur) to round out the meal. As always, steps marked with a ♥ are for little hands to help!
I know what you’re thinking. No way my kids would ever eat clams! My mom thought the same thing, but once we tasted it, it became our comfort food. Give this a try and your kids might surprise you; they may even insist on licking the bowl clean!