Every now and then I like to post a classic recipe for my daughter. It’s found in almost every Italian restaurant. A dish that can be easily pulled together on a week night when hosting a few friends or a special someone or just when you want to treat yourself! Of course, fresh clams would make this dish awesome in appearance but I truly feel that the taste is just the same. This is one time when a canned product actually can be used just as successfully in taste and flavor. And to be totally honest, when I see fresh clams at my fish market, I purchase just a few to mainly use for garnish on the dish!
The basis of this dish is similar to the Italian pasta dish with garlic, olive oil and parsley. Again, a classic pasta dish with the additional of crisp white wine, chopped clams, claim juice (from the drained clams) and good parmesan cheese. I believe when making simple dishes to always use the best quality ingredients. I prefer to purchase artisanal pasta and pay a bit more as the taste and texture to me is superior. Sauces seem to cling better and al la dente takes on a whole new meaning to the taste and density of these pastas. I find also that I will use and eat less of this pasta as it is more satisfying and filling.
Fresh herbs are equally important to add brightness and freshness to the dish. I have been trying to get my daughter to grow some fresh herbs, which would be year round down here in Florida, but she insists taking on the responsibility of watering a plant would be too much for a college girl’s lifestyle. Then again, she wants a dog?? Imagine that!
I follow the recipe below in specific steps for a reason. Mixing the ¼ cup clam juice, parmesan cheese and parsley together creates a thickener for the sauce. I add the clams in only at the end so that they do not overcook and become chewy. And I save some pasta water just in case the pasta needs a bit more wetness. The amount of oil and butter may seem a lot, but it is so necessary for great tasting flavor. The dish comes together quite quickly so it’s best to have all ingredients prepped and ready!
Linguine with Clam Sauce
1 lb linguine pasta (I used bucatini in the photo dish above!)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup white wine
4 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper
3 6.5 ounce cans chopped claims with juice
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, optional
Drain clams, saving the clam juice, set aside. Mix ¼ cup of clam juice with the parmesan cheese and parsley together in a small bowl and set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions. Save ¼ cup pasta water just in case it’s needed at the very end.
While pasta is cooking, begin to prepare the sauce. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. Add in the garlic cloves and crushed red pepper and simmer gently for about 2 minutes. Do not allow the garlic to burn. Add in the white wine and remaining clam juice, simmer for another minute. Add in the pasta, clams and parmesan cheese/clam juice/parsley mixture. Using tongs, lift and stir the pasta together well with the sauce and gently heat the clams. Serve immediately with lemon wedges. Serves 4.