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Linguini with Clam Sauce

Posted on: March 29th, 2010

Chewy clams and pasta in a simple sauce made with olive oil, garlic, clam juice and wine. Bursting with the flavor, this dish is for the true seafood lover. Garlic and clam quantity can be adjusted to taste.  Pair with a lightly dressed salad (such as greens, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamico, sea salt and pepper) and a brisk white or sparkling wine.  Buon Appetito!

Start with great clams and take care not to overcook them.

Linguini with White Clam Sauce Recipe

Purge sand from live clams in changes of salt water

12-16 small cherry stone clams (live or Pana Pesca frozen clams)
1/2 pound imported Italian linguini, or similar
extra virgin olive oil, as needed
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 to 1 onion, minced or sliced
10-12 ounces chopped or baby clams
1/2 cup clam juice
1/4 cup white wine or vermouth
3 TBS fresh minced Italian parsley
2 TBS fresh minced oregano
2 TBS fresh minced tarragon, thyme or herbs of your choice
pinches of crushed red pepper
1/8 tsp. pepper
fresh lemon wedges and zest
*option – frozen baby clams

If using live clams, clean and soak in several changes of cold salted water (I suggest fine sea salt or Kosher salt, add plenty, it should be as salty as the sea to trick the clams into purging and cleaning themselves). If using frozen clams purging is not necessary, simply thaw in the refrigerator.

Prepare salad or side dishes and then begin boiling water for pasta, cooking according to package directions. Prepare all ingredients, and have them close at hand.

For Live Clams
In a large sauté pan, sauté garlic and onion in about 1/4 cup olive oil until golden. Add wine, whole clams, clam juice, peppers, and half of the fresh herbs. Simmer uncovered, removing clams as they open. Reduce, taste and adjust sauce. Add chopped clams (and strained liquor if desired) and heat through. Taste and adjust. Add back clams or keep warm and use to garnish pasta.

PanaPesca, cleaned, frozen and ready to use.

For Frozen Clams
Sauté garlic as above, and then add wine, clam juice, peppers and half of the herbs; reducing to taste. Add thawed clams, toss and bring back to a simmer, and then add chopped clams – adding the strained clam liqueur to taste. Taste and adjust.

*Option – Frozen Baby Clams
If making a double or triple batch, I often add a bag of Pana Pescababy clams and their juice rather than more live clams to simplify and save a little money.  The whole clams are really best, but in a pinch the baby clams could replace them.

Drain pasta well and reserve at least 1 cup of pasta water. Combine clams and sauce in either pot or pan and toss over medium heat. Simmer to finish pasta and marry with the sauce. Toss with remaining fresh herbs and serve garnished with lemon wedges and lemon zest. Serve with rustic bread, salad, and white wine.  Serves about 2

A tossed salad, a loaf of rustic bread and a brisk white wine complete this special meal.

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