Martian Food
Sep 18, 2015

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Linguini with Clam Sauce

Active time:30 minutes

Start To Finish:1 hour, including soaking time

Difficulty:

Serving size: 4-6

Source: Fine Cooking

Quick Preparation, Pasta, Shellfish, Fast and Easy , Family Favorites
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photo

Ingredients:

4 lb. littleneck or Manila clams
½ cup dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio
1 lb. linguini or spaghetti
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 medium cloves garlic, minced
freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ tsp. (or to taste) crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

Scrub the clams under cold running water; then put them in a large bowl and cover them with cold water.  Add 2 Tbs. salt and swish it around carefully until it is dissolved.  Let the clams sit in the water for 30 minutes.  Without disturbing the dirt in the bowl, carefully remove the clams, put them in a colander and rinse again with cold water. Toss any clams that don't close when tapped.

While the clams are soaking, start heating a large pot of water for the pasta.

Put the clams and the wine in a heavy-duty 5-to 6-quart pot.  Cover and cook over medium-high heat, shaking the pan from time to time.  Start checking the clams after about 7 minutes, removing the clams from the pot as they open.  They will open in stages, but any that don't open after about 10-12 minutes should be discarded.  Remove the clams from the shells and place in a medium bowl.  Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a wet cheesecloth into the bowl with the clams.  Rinse and dry the now empty pot.

Meanwhile, salt the pasta water (add 1-2 Tbs. of sea salt or kosher salt-- the water should taste like the ocean) and cook the pasta according to the package directions.  You want to cook the pasta so it is slightly firmer than al dente, about 1 minute less than the package directions.  Reserve one cup of the pasta water and then drain the cooked pasta.

Meanwhile, in the pot you cooked the clams in, heat ¼ cup of the oil and the garlic over medium-high heat until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the clams and the cooking liquid and bring to a simmer.  Season with ½ tsp. of freshly ground black pepper and keep warm.

Add the drained pasta, the remaining ¼ cup of oil, the parsley and the red pepper flakes, if using.  Cook over high heat for one minute to blend the flavors, adding some of the pasta water if the sauce appears too dry.  The pasta should be moist and well coated with sauce.  Taste and adjust seasonings, although between the clams, the cooking liquid, and the pasta, the dish should be salty enough. Serve in shallow bowls (like these.)  

 

Notes:

Marcella:  The first time I made this pasta, I was amazed at the amount of sediment that the clams released after soaking for 30 minutes.  I'm not sure what effect that has on the finished dish, but this pasta is truly awesome.  We have stopped looking for a better one.



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