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.
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.