When soup ain’t cuttin’ it.

I had started out making Manhattan Clam Chowder, the tomatoey, sea-scented soup that’s far removed, and much healthier, than the cream version from Bahston.  After all that pork belly (I had a few bigger-than-average sized portions over the weekend), I had put myself on a diet. I wanted something flavorful, spicy, and light.  I was even planning to leave out the potatoes.

But as my diets go (why-oh-why do I think starving will work?), I hadn’t eaten a thing past a banana with black coffee for breakfast, and when it got around to dinnertime, I was famished.  What had I been thinking?  Clams?  Vegetables? Tomato broth?  Why didn’t I buy those potatoes?  I hadn’t even bought a loaf of bread for dipping.  I needed substance.  Or I would starve. (Stop rolling your eyes, ok, ok, I can be a little dramatic.)

Thankfully, I remembered I had some egg pasta in my cupboard. Manhattan Clam Pasta was born and, like most inventions created by necessity, it was even better than the original chowder would have been.  The egg noodles added a buttery-starchy component that is usually absent in the chowder, thickened only by potato starch.

Being that the soup was already made and simmering (sans clams) on the stove-top, I cooked the pasta right in the liquid.  Perfect, I thought as the pasta soaked up some of the liquid, making the remaining less of a soup and more of a sauce.  Sometimes (however rarely) things just come together in my kitchen.

And while I’m sure I wouldn’t have starved on the clam chowder alone, I sat down to my plate of crisp bacon, buttery noodles, salty clams, earthy celery, carrots and onions, and sweet, acidic tomatoes knowing that I’d be sleeping well that night.  It filled my belly but didn’t leave me stuffed—the perfect combination for a healthy diet.

Manhattan Clam Pasta

serves 4

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound good, fresh chopped clams (Whole Foods sells a good brand)
  • 1 (14-oz) can whole San Marzino tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 sprig or two of fresh thyme
  • a good pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 pound egg noodle pasta
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Drain clams, reserving liquid.

Add bacon into a dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Once bacon fat has rendered, remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve on a paper towel.

Add celery, carrots, and onion to the dutch oven.  Saute until translucent and beginning to brown.  Add reserved clam liquid, tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Add egg noodles and cook until tender.

Add chopped clams, reserved bacon, and parsley.  Simmer for another minute or two.  Serve.

15 thoughts on “When soup ain’t cuttin’ it.”

  1. Great post, there is nothing like clams and pasta, so good. I am currently on a diet also, but I think I am a little more fed then you. You should really try just eating healthy things all day! Otherwise you will go into starvation mode and undo all the good work you have done. Plus this pasta doesn’t really sound so bad from a diet perspective.. the bacon is iffy… but of course it depends on how much you eat!

  2. I can’t stomach seafood soups so this looks quite a bit better to me! I’m from NY and go to Manhattan all the time but didn’t know that Manhattan clam chowder was that different from the Boston version. I guess that goes to show you how often I eat seafood soups (which is never).

  3. Brilliant! I love this. I make lots of soups, what a great idea to serve the leftovers as a pasta dish. I will remember this one.

    Thanks for visiting my blog Robin.

    Lori Lynn

  4. I am on a diet too (perpetually) and have begun to salivate and want to reach through the computer screen and start eating that dish right now!

  5. mmmmmmmmmmm clams.

    your blog is codfish!!! you like cod? I love cod!! I happen to have a food blog as well, and it also happens to be named after that ugly fish. 🙂


  6. Oh my! I’m so glad that the post is enticing you all (even if you maybe wouldn’t like the real dish!) 😀

    Malloryelise: what is the link to your “codfish” blog… I cannot find it but would love to check it out!

  7. Robin! Love the new design. Love the Pear Gingerbread recipe….got to make that, and that pasta! Yikes! Don’t you love it when something comes out of your kitchen that is SO great!!

    Hope the back feels better.

  8. Your Manhattan Clam Pasta sounds incredibly delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I would like some seafood and pasta for dinner for a change. We’ve been having chicken for dinner for almost a week straight.

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