Linguine with White Clam Sauce
Sounds like a big deal – linguine, clams, vongole. Hmmm… not so much. The only big deal here is the wonderful dish that awaits. LINGUINE ALLE VONGOLE or Linguine with White Clam Sauce is easy, light, and perfect to start the summer menu for outdoor dining. Yes – outdoors – On the Patio – is right where I would go with this one. This dish was just made for an outdoor spread. You are not going to believe how easy it is to create one of the most famous of Italian seafood dishes. I just saw some beautiful Littleneck Clams the other day and thought, “It’s time!” It is time to share this fabulous dish with you.
Linguine Alle Vongole was pretty ordinary around our house growing up in Binghamton, NY, because it was a favorite of my father, Attilio, a fisherman at heart, who loved to take to the sea in the summer with his family in tow. As a girl, we spent many summers on Cape Cod with various wonderful cousins of my mother, Loretta. We all inhabited cottages next to each other. It was the Italian version of the Kennedy compound—without the trust funds! During the day, when the time was right, the kids would head, with their buckets, to the areas where the clams would be found and commenced to digging up as many as they could carry home to my Dad. He would then prepare two extraordinary sauces with these clams – one red – one white. The aunts prepared homemade pasta while we were all at the beach. Later at dinner time, everyone emerged from the family cottages to grab a dish and line up for Attilio’s “red” or “white” sauce – both delicious and fresh. Such a memory – I can almost taste the pasta, fresh clams, and the the salt air that accompanied.
Today we’ll tackle the simple and fresh preparation of the “white” in Linguine Alle Vongole. Just relax and let the clams do the heavy lifting. They will release flavor from their broth that you will not believe!
LINGUINE ALLE VONGOLE
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
1 lb. Linguine Pasta (thin, flat pasta)
1/4 c. Olive Oil
4 Cloves Fresh Garlic- chopped finely
1 c. White wine
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
Littleneck or other small clams (Manilas, cockles etc.) scrubbed a little to clean them. I like 3 1/2 lb for 4 people. Don’t be stingy with the clams. After all, they are the main focus here.
3 Tbsp. Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste.
1/2 c. Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
1 Lemon for garnish
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzle
Put oil in pan with chopped garlic
Cook a couple of minutes over med. high heat just to let garlic permeate the oil. Sit and do not brown or burn the garlic
Add the wine and red pepper flakes – Cook a couple of minutes.
Then add the clams turning the heat to high. Cover the pan immediately and cook until the clams open – about 8 minutes. They will release a delicious broth which will flavor your sauce.
If larger clams are used –leave cover on a couple more minutes.
When ready – remove any unopened clams and discard them as they may be dead. Use only the clams which have opened.
TASTE and add salt and pepper as needed
At this point add 3 tbsp. butter. Let the butter melt and stir in.
Add the sauce to the drained pasta and toss. Taste again for seasoning.
Sprinkle parsley over the top.
Slice the lemon very thin into rounds and then cut the rounds in half – like 1/2 moons and throw around on top of pasta – as many as you like.
Drizzle liberally with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Stick a fork in it – it’s DONE!
To Serve: Have some crusty Italian bread on hand with this dish. You’ll need it. It has great “dunkability”! My father, Attilio, would surely have a small supply of red pepper flakes on the side to add to his dish – delicious – but not for the faint of heart.
Vino: As with most seafood , I recommend a Falanghina with the Linguine Alle Vongole , but a Pinot Grigio would be lovely as well.
PARLA COME MANGI!
Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography