QUICK FIX: Spaghetti with clams, herb sauce and Italian salad

Spaghetti with clam sauce is flavorful, has a fresh taste and is easy to make. (Brad Calkins/Dreamstime/TNS)

Spaghetti with clam sauce is flavorful, has a fresh taste and is easy to make. When buying clams, look for shells that are tightly closed. At home, tap any shells that are open. They should close, if not, discard them. Store clams in the refrigerator loosely covered with a clean towel. Use them within one or two days. Scrub the shells under cold water before cooking them. Complete the meal with a fresh Italian salad.

Helpful hints:

Mussels can be used instead of clams.

Diced fresh tomatoes can be found in the produce section of the supermarket.

Minced garlic can be found in jars in the produce section of the market.

A quick way to chop fresh herbs and to slice scallions is to snip them with a scissors.

Spaghetti with clams and herb sauce

¼ pound whole wheat spaghetti (1½ cups cooked)

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/3 cup bottled clam juice

2 pounds clams (steamers or medium-size clams)

2 cups fresh diced tomatoes

1/3 cup sliced scallions

¼ cup snipped fresh basil leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet over low heat. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, one minute. Add the clam juice. Cover with a lid, raise the heat to medium-low and simmer for one minute to blend the flavors. Add the clams, cover and simmer, shaking the pan, until they open, about five minutes. Discard any clams that do not open. Transfer clams and their juices to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes and scallions to the bowl and toss. Sprinkle with the basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss lightly to combine. Divide the spaghetti between two shallow bowls. Top with the clam sauce. Serve immediately.

Yield servings: two

Per serving: Calories 449, Calories from Fat 144, Total Fat 16.0 g, Saturated Fat 2.2 g, Monounsaturated fat 10.1g, Cholesterol 38 mg, Sodium 267 mg, Carbohydrate 56.1 g, Dietary Fiber 7.6 g, Sugars 7.3 g, Protein 25.3 g

Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 lean meat, 2 fat

Italian salad

4 cups washed, ready-to-eat Italian-style salad

2 tablespoons reduced-fat Italian dressing*

Place salad in a bowl and toss with the dressing.

Yield two servings.

Per serving: Calories 27, Calories from Fat 11, Total Fat 1.2 g, Saturated Fat 0.1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 0.3g, Cholesterol 1 mg, Sodium 12 mg, Carbohydrate 3.8g, Dietary Fiber 2.0 g, Sugars 1.8 g, Protein 1.2 g

Exchanges: 1 vegetable

* Look for reduced-fat Italian dressing (oil and vinegar not creamy dressing) containing per tablespoon: 11 calories, 1.0 g fat, 4 mg sodium.