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Aug 6, 2010 02:06 PM

Pasta Clams

No matter what kind I order or buy, they are always very large. I had this dish and they were perfect size. What should I be ordering/asking for?

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  1. those look like littlenecks or could be cherrystone clams to me.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Infomaniac

      Are littlenecks smaller than cherrystone?They are pretty tiny.

      1. re: itryalot

        Littlenecks are smaller.
        Cherry stones I see more at raw bars but they are used in baked dishes and for stuffed clams.
        Native to the east coast.

    2. In the Pacific Northwest, those would be Manillas.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rcallner

        Just saw bags of Manilas in Reno. Didn't look closely cause I didn't have my cooler.

        I so prefer whole clams still in the shell when served with pasta.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. You may want to ask for cockles instead of clams, they tend to be ~1 inch across at the most. I think manilla or mahogany clams are a good size too, they're usually between 1.5 and 2 inches across the shell.

          1 Reply
          1. re: egit

            In California, those are also called Manilla clams.

          2. Manila clams was my first guess too.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Rubee

              Personally, for a clam sauce I want the very largest clams, chopped coarsely, and added at the last minute...remove from heat as soon as they cook through. If done that way, they are never tough. All of the clam juice is saved to make the main part of the sauce, along with white wine and olive oil...and as much garlic as you like, and flatleaf parsley.

              1. re: EricMM

                But OP strongly prefers the small ones in the shell.

                1. re: EricMM

                  I'm with you, only the very largest clams should be used.
                  Those Manila clams only make the dish look cute.
                  But, when a restaurant buffet serves those Manila clams I've got to eat at least 3 dozen to satisfy my clam desire.

                  1. re: monku

                    But to chime in from a different perspective, all the tastiest versions of pasta with clams that I've had have been made with whole small clams in the shell, no more than an inch or so in diameter. Though to be fair, those have mostly been in Europe - in the States this dish is almost always ruined by excessive amounts of garlic.

                    1. re: BobB

                      I agree. But overall I'm finding I want less garlic. Not that I don't love it. It's just that I want to taste the clams first and just a hint of the garlic.

                  2. re: EricMM

                    I prefer whole clams in the shell too, although my husband likes the chopped up pieces because it's easier to eat. I use littlenecks (pic) or Manila clams steamed first in white wine, shallots, garlic, chili flakes, and olive oil. Remove clams, strain, add slightly underdone pasta to the broth to finish cooking and soak up those delicious juices, toss with the clams, parsley or basil, and then sprinkle with lemon zest.

                    1. re: Rubee

                      Should add that Batali has a great recipe for linguine with Manila clams, pancetta, and chiles in "Simple Italian Food". It uses red onion, pepper flakes, garlic, white wine, parsley and butter. Delicious.