Rocky Point Red Clam Chowder

I was born and raised in RI and have lived here for most of my life.  This post celebrates a Rhode Island icon of my youth, Rocky Point Park.  The amusement park, which operated from the late 1840s until it closed in 1994 was a favorite childhood destination for its incredible thrill rides.  Shore Dinner Hall at Rocky Point was the place to go for clam cakes and chowder that were famously served to thousands at a time.

Copycat recipes abound for Rocky Point Red Clam Chowder.  Here is my rendition, and I think it is a fitting tribute to the original, but my version is gluten free!

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Fresh clams are always available in RI, but if you don’t want to do all that prep, frozen raw clams are a great alternative.  They are so much better than canned, and worth seeking out.  Remember, clams cook quickly and should only be added to the chowder during the last 5 minutes of cooking.



Peel and dice the onions and potatoes, dice the salt pork into 1/2″ pieces.

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or heavy stockpot over medium low heat.  Add the diced salt pork and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly.  Take your time here, you want nicely browned pork bits and all the rendered fat that is going to flavor the chowder.

Remove the browned bits with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and set aside for garnish.  Reserve the fat in the pan.

Add the onions and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the potatoes, clam juice, and Old Bay seasoning.  Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes.

Finally, add the clams, the reserved tomato mixture and the paprika.  Cook 5 minutes longer (just a simmer, not a rolling boil), season with black pepper and remove from the heat.  Let stand for 1 hour before serving.

Serve the chowder with a few of the reserved bacon bits for garnish, they really make the flavor pop!  And how about those Oyster Crackers?  Yes, they are from scratch and they are gluten free!  You’re welcome.

I hope my fellow Rhode Islanders have enjoyed this bit of local nostalgia.  Try the recipe and let me know what you think!  You don’t have to be gluten free, or a local to love this chowder, it is fabulous!

Notes: ♪ ♫ Many red clam chowder recipes call for a can of condensed tomato soup, but don’t reach for the Campbells!  It is not gluten free.  I used Health Valley tomato soup, certified gluten free and no salt added.  It is very good in this recipe, and I used the unsalted because there are so many other salty ingredients.  Always check labels for hidden gluten, and if the salt pork is too much sodium you can sub a few slices of low sodium bacon.

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Gluten Free Spaghetti with Squid Rings

Gluten Free Spaghetti with Squid Rings

This simple pasta dish is the embodiment of comfort food.  It is out of this world good.

Here in my home state of RI, squid is usually available year-round.  In fact, Calamari is the official state appetizer of Rhode Island.  If you can’t find fresh squid, look for it in the frozen section.  You can use squid tubes, tentacles or a combination in this recipe.  I’ll admit, I am a little squeamish about those tentacles!

Be sure to soak the squid in milk for 30 minutes before cooking.  This makes the flesh tender and lends a creaminess to the sauce.  Finishing the dish with garlic oil puts it over the top!

 4 servings

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  • 6 oz. gluten free spaghetti
  • 8 oz. squid tubes, cut into rings (tentacles optional)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Italian seasoning, to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • ½ bag baby spinach (about 2 handfuls)
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley


Cut the squid tubes into rings, rinse and place in a bowl with 1/3 cup milk.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and soak for 30 minutes.  Squid can be tough if not prepared correctly, but if you soak it in milk and don’t overcook, it will be delicious and tender.

Next make the garlic oil.  Chop the garlic and heat slowly over lowest heat in 1/4 cup olive oil, sprinkled with red pepper flakes.  I used a simmer mat to keep the heat low.  When the garlic is just starting to soften (about 20 minutes) remove it from heat and set aside.

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Now heat a braising pan or wide skillet on medium low with 2 tbsp. olive oil.  Add the tomato paste to the center of the skillet and let it cook 2 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes with their juice, followed by the wine, brown sugar and 1 tsp. of Italian seasoning.  Bring to a simmer and stir frequently, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Use tongs to pick up the squid and add it to the sauce, discarding the excess milk.

Cover and cook 7 minutes.

Uncover, add the baby spinach and stir it in just until wilted.

Drain the spaghetti and place on a serving platter.  Top with the squid and tomato mixture.  Finish with the garlic oil (you may remove the garlic first or leave it in), and garnish with chopped parsley.

Friends, this was the best seafood pasta dish and a very special dinner for two.  Not to mention easy and economical!  Enjoy this restaurant quality meal in your home tonight!

Notes: ♪♫ I used Bionaturae gluten free spaghetti in this recipe.  It’s a great choice if you are missing traditional “white” pasta.  The first time I had it in a restaurant, I thought they had mistakenly served me regular pasta!  It’s so good, no one will know it’s gluten free.

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