This addictive sauce is a concoction of saffron infused wine, fresh clams, red pepper flakes and cream. If you can get fresh Littleneck clams, and have a generous pinch of Saffron threads on hand – this is a divine pasta dish to make. The saffron turns the cream a beautiful gold color. Saffron is expensive and the good news is that a little goes a long way. You can buy 2 grams for under $10 and get lots of meals out of it. Click here for a good Spanish brand. I like the addition of a few diced ripe tomatoes for color contrast.
Fettuccine with Clams in Spicy Saffron Cream Sauce
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 good pinch saffron
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 pound fettuccine
- 4 tablespoons butter ½ stick
- 2 shallots minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 - 2 Roma tomatoes diced
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes or season to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground back pepper
- 12 fresh littleneck clams scrubbed
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- Put the saffron in the wine to steep for 15 minutes, or until turns a golden color. Set aside.
- in a large stock pot bring water and salt to boil. Add fettuccine and cook until al dente or about 7 minutes.
- In a large saucepan over high heat, melt butter and add shallots. Cook until soft. Add bay leaf, tomato, red and black peppers (to taste), and wine/saffron mixture. Bring to a simmer. Add clams and cover pot. Steam the clams until they are open, shaking the pan one or two times to incorporate the flavors. Discard any unopened clams. Set the opened clams aside.
- Add the cream and simmer for 3-4 more minutes. Do not boil after the cream has been added.
- Add the al dente pasta to the pan and mix. Add the clams back to the pan.
- Serve immediately.