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Easy Rigatoni with Spicy Tomato & Red Pepper Clam Sauce

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rigatoni & tom:clam sauce


WOW, what a beautiful day!! The sun is shining brightly, the chill left the air, and it is just absolutely gorgeous out today! The fall colors are exploding like fireworks, and even the birds and ducks seem to be exceptionally happy and enjoying the day! My poor Gilbert kitty is racing back and forth at the screen chasing the falling leaves, and so wants to catch one and eat it! Sorry li’l buddy, but you’re a pampered “indoor” kitty and leaves would not taste like what you think they would. 😉  

And neither does this dish I made last night! Talk about a nice change of pace and a breath of fresh air, also! Not “stinky-fishy” tasting like similar I’ve had in restaurants. Rich and sufficiantly coated, yet not over-loaded with gobs of sauce. There’s plenty of clams, a little heat, and mild, sweet red bell peppers cooked down to balance the flavors! A bit of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and a sprinkling of just a tad of parmesan cheese on top took this easy-to-make dish over the freaking top! I really rocked it last night and had such a blast creating it! I can’t wait for you to try this! Similar dishes like this in restaurants would cost per plate more than the whole batch did making it homemade. And it’s really very easy to make, too! After a quick sauté of the onions and peppers, most everything else goes into the pot for a slow simmer while you bring the water for the pasta to a boil, cook the noodles, toss them into the sauce, add a little butter, lemon juice and “pasta water” and you’re headed to the finish line in total of all of basically 35-45 minutes! Fast, incredibly delicious, and easy-peasy!

This dish is absolutely ideal for serving to company, too, because you can make the sauce ahead of time! Then just gently warm while you boil your noodles and continue through to the end following the last little bit to do. Served with some garlic bread or crusty rolls and a nice salad, and you’ve got a wonderful, mouth-watering meal! If you would like to go fancy-schmancy, you could serve this with lobster tails or crab legs, or even grilled steaks or filet mignon for a little surf ‘n turf. Serve this company-worthy dinner with a nice, rich and cheesy, spinach-artichoke dip for an appetizer – – and I’ll expect an invitation! 😉 I hope you, your  family and lucky guests enjoy! Call me! 😉  


*Note: Don’t let this seemingly long list of ingredients scare you off. It’s mostly just simple seasonings and pantry items. 😉


This recipe was shared with: 

FFFriday Pasta




Serves 4-6


1 Tbl. oil

1 Tbl. butter

half of a medium onion (or one small onion) chopped

half of a red bell pepper, diced 

1 tsp. minced garlic, fresh or jarred

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. dried parsley

1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, I use Hunt’s

1/4 cup clam juice drained from one of the cans of clams

1/4 cup white wine

3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper 

1/2 tsp. seasoned salt, we like Johnny’s Seasoning Salt

1/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper

1/8 tsp. Lawry’s Red Pepper Seasoned Salt (good stuff!)

1/8 tsp. sugar

1 lb. rigatoni noodles, Barilla’s always cook up nicely and don’t fall apart which is very important for this dish

1/2 cup “pasta water”, from the cooked noodles

2 ( 6 1/2 oz.) cans minced clams, drain but reserve 1/4 cup juice and set aside!

1 ( 6 1/6 oz.) can chopped clams, drained (or use minced, but if wanting a few bigger pieces then use one can of these)

2 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice, (from a 1/4 of a small lemon), or to taste

1 Tbl. butter

rest of 1 lemon sliced, for garnish and use

4 Tbl. grated parmesan cheese, 1 Tbl. per serving or as desired

1/4 cup very finely chopped fresh parsley if desired for garnish, but really good



In heavy-bottomed stock pot, melt oil and butter and swirl in the pan to coat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, oregano and parsley. Sauté 10 minutes until tender. 

Add next 8 ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and simmer another 10-15 minutes. (Or until thick.) Stirring occasionally.

Cover with lid tilted to vent and move aside.

While sauce is simmering, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook noodles according to package directions for “al dente”. *Remove a half of a cup of the cooking water and set that aside. Now drain the noodles well. (*Or you can take your time and cook the noodles after the sauce is done and resting.) No rush, no problem, no fret. 😉

Add noodles to the pot of sauce along with the “pasta water” and drained clams. Heat to medium-high heat and get it sputtering and hissing while gently stirring to finish cooking the pasta and cook out the water, about 2-3 minutes. (*If you prefer a fishier taste, use more clam juice in place of the pasta water.)  

Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice and butter. Spoon into shallow bowls and garnish with lemon slices and a light sprinkling of parmesan and fresh, minced parsley. *Do this fairly quickly though, because it does cool off pretty fast. Serve with garlic bread and tossed salads.  

*If you’re really good at timing things out perfectly to be done at the same time, you can cook the pasta sooner. But remember…

“The sauce can wait for the pasta, but the pasta can never wait for the sauce.” 😉  



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Joanne/WineLady Cooks

Sunday 2nd of March 2014

This looks so delicious Kelly. Thanks for sharing with FFF Noodles & Pasta party. I've pinned and shared.

Looking forward to seeing you again soon, Joanne.


Sunday 2nd of March 2014

Thank you so very much, Joanne! And thanks for having me! :)

Joanne T Ferguson

Sunday 2nd of March 2014

G'day! GREAT stuff Kelly! Thanks for the link back! GREATLY appreciate! Sharing via Best Bloggers Homemade today too! YUM! Thanks for sharing at the Foodie Friends Friday Nothing but Noodles Pasta party! Cheers! Joanne


Sunday 2nd of March 2014

No problem at all! :D And I always enjoy the party! Thanks for inviting me! :D