The Canned Seafood You Should Be Adding To Tomato Sauce

Thick, creamy, with rich and complex flavors that develop from hours of slowly cooking down tomatoes with garlic, olive oil, and a blend of fresh or dried spices like oregano and basil, tomato sauce is a classic pairing with pasta (though it also goes well over eggs, for dipping toast, and in soups and stews).

Tomato sauce is also great base for creating other common types of pasta sauces: add some ground beef and pork and chopped onions, celery, and carrots, and you get a classic Bolognese sauce; add some vodka and heavy cream, and you get a creamy vodka sauce; add some crushed red pepper flakes, and you get a spicy arrabbiata sauce; add some salt-cured pork cheeks (or bacon or pancetta), and you get a savory all'amatriciana sauce. Nor does tomato sauce only work well with meat, as demonstrated by the puttanesca sauce, which is made with Kalamata olives, capers, and anchovies (and most often, canned anchovies). Well, there's another canned seafood that you should consider adding to your tomato sauce, and that's canned clams.

Canned clams are an easy and delicious addition to tomato sauce

Clams are a key ingredient in linguine alle vongole, or linguine with clams, which is available in both a white sauce and a red (tomato) sauce. While some recipes call for using fresh clams, there are good reasons why should use canned clams instead.

For one thing, you might not even be able to find fresh clams. Even if you can get them, they're a hassle to shuck and can leave a mess on your kitchen counters, notes Taste. With canned clams, on the other hand, all you have to do is open the can with an opener — since the canning process cooks the clams (via Simply Recipes), they don't require further cooking and are ready to use from the can. Canned clams are also quite affordable, typically available for just a few dollars for a 6.5-ounce can at your local supermarket. They're also a great source of lean protein, micronutrients, and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, while being low in calories, per Healthline. So the next time you're making tomato sauce — even if it's just opening a jar or can of pre-made sauce (hey, no judgments here) — add a can or two of canned clams to elevate your dish and add a "briny punch," all without much extra cost or work.