For a long time, my white clam sauce was hit or miss — sometimes adhering nicely to the pasta, but often watery. I saw recipes that advised using a thickener or adding cheese to the sauce, but I was pretty sure that wasn’t the way to go (particularly since in Northern Italy I’d learned that fish and cheese are rarely allowed in the same dish).
I came to my solution after buying a lot of Bar Harbor clam stock and clams. Now I sautee some chopped or crushed garlic in two or three tablespoons of mild olive oil in a large pan, then pour in an entire 15-ounce can of clam stock and cook it down to a few tablespoons. When the pasta is just about cooked I toss chopped fresh parsley and chopped clams (the contents of two 6.5 ounce cans) into the reduced stock. Add pepper to taste, and spoon it over your pasta.
This amount of sauce will serve two or three people.
The quality of clams is critical to the success of this recipe, as is the fresh parsley. Cheap, fishy canned clams — ugh!
You can get the Bar Harbor clams (by the 12-pack) and clam stock (by the six pack) from Amazon.com, or ask at one of the better grocery stores. Ballard Market used to carry both, but now for some reason only has the stock. Go figure!