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Italian grandmothers may balk at the idea of cooking pasta directly in a sauce instead of in a separate ocean-sized pot of boiling water, but it's a great shortcut to extra flavor without the extra stove space, and can result in perfectly fine texture (see here for more on the science of low-water pasta). But there are a couple tricks you need to know.
First, you've got to make the sauce extra-saucy to account for the liquid the pasta is going to absorb as it cooks. In this recipe, you've got canned broth, along with some vinegar and a good amount of liquid exuded from Littleneck clams as they cook. Large shrimp or even mussels could be used in a pinch.
Secondly, you've got to make sure to add ingredients at the right time to make sure they don't overcook. I use shallots and hot peppers at the beginning to help them soften and season the broth, followed by corn and clams. Next, I add rice noodles—thin noodles that soften in minutes; Just about as long as it takes to finish cooking the clams. Snow peas and halved cherry tomatoes get added along with the noodles to retain some of their fresh, late-summer flavor.
Finally, a shot of Sriracha and soy sauce along with a squeeze of lime and chopped cilantro at the end give it a bit of an Asian flavor kick.
About the Author: Yasmin Fahr is a food lover, writer, and cook. Follow her @yasminfahr for more updates on her eating adventures and discoveries, which will most likely include tomatoes. And probably feta. Happy eating!
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