I was absolutely craving Linguine alla Vongole (linguine with clams) last night. I don't know why, but sometime at around 3 P.M. the image of lovely clams, nestled in a pile of lovely pasta, covered in copious amounts of wine and garlic wouldn't stop nagging me. In fact, at 3:30 P.M., a colleague and I had a half hour long conversation about how most recipes skimp on the garlic and wine. We followed up that conversation with delightful stories of our local fish mongers... I love fellow foodies wherever they may be hiding.
Thankfully, the craving was easily fixed. In fact, besides the clams, I had everything at home at the ready. I'm guessing you might, too. Along with the pasta, we had a lovely fresh Caprese salad (tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper), and loaf of Italian bread (how else were you planning on soaking up all that amazing left over garlicky wine sauce?) It was the perfect warm weather meal and the next time we have people over, it's what I'll be making. All I'll need is some Gelato and fresh berries for dessert.
Feel free, as always, to make this recipe your own. More garlic? Sure. More wine? Yup. Crushed red pepper flakes? Go for it.
Linguine alla Vongole
1 lb linguine
8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Clams (2 dozen large, or 2 lbs smaller varieties like Manila, or even cockles)
1 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup clam juice
1 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tbs butter (or the "fake" stuff, like Smart Balance)
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour (for clams only)
-Fill a large bowl with 1/2 cup flour and very cold water. Let the clams soak in the bowl for 15-30 minutes. They will suck in the flour and spit out any grit or sand. This works with mussels, too.
-Meanwhile, set a large pot of salted water to boil. Slice the garlic and chop the parsley, set aside. Heat oil in heavy bottom pot, like dutch oven, add garlic and sautee until cooked through but not browned. Add wine, clam juice, and half the parsley; cook until boiling.
-Rinse and scrub the clam shells very, very well to rid them of any flour, grit, and sand (there is nothing worse then grit in your pasta). While pasta is cooking, place clams in pot and cover, shaking the covered pot gently every once in a while to help open clams. Cook the pasta about one minute less than you normally would and drain.
-Once clams have opened, place pasta in the sauce pot, add the butter, salt and pepper to your liking, and cook for about one minute or so, stirring everything together. Serve immediately. Remember to have that bread handy to soak up the left over sauce!