Sunday Pasta™: Linguine con le Vongole (Clams)
Other then the deathly allergic, who among us doesn’t love a delicious bowl of linguine with clams? Fresh clams, garlic, parsley, olive oil. You crave. It delivers. Imagine this perfect day. You start off with some fresh mozzarella di bufala, ripe tomato, and just picked basil. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. You can still smell the bread as it came from the oven; the thought of its crust makes your mouth water. Perhaps a slice of prosciutto is draped nearby. Someone pours you a bottomless glass of Verdicchio. You are surrounded and served by beautiful people. You laugh with a good friend. Puccini is in the background. In the foreground, sailboats bobble as you look over a cliff onto the deep blue Tyrrhenian Sea. A cool breeze blows while you decide whether you still need your sunglasses. The linguine alle vongole arrives. Perfection. Ahhh, la dolce vita.
Now snap out of it, and just be happy that I’m giving you a good recipe that you can make at home, while your kids scream in the background, you overlook a sea of bills, and your spouse glares at you about your first glass of wine. Savor the taste, I tell you. It ain’t much, but it’s all you got! That, and your dreams.
Remove any clams that are broken, or which do not close immediately if tapped. (I prefer smaller clams if you can find them, but not the tiny ones.) Heat olive oil in a large skillet, and saute the garlic until golden. Add the clams and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the shells open (discarding any clam with a shell that does not open). Remove the clams from the skillet with a slotted spoon and then remove all but 16 clams from their shells. Place all shelled clams back into the skillet with the remaining liquid.
Meanwhile, prepare the linguine until al dente (at least 2 minutes less than package recommends). Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the clams, as well as the clams in their shells. Cook for about 2 minutes, tossing with the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve, evenly distributing the clams. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper for a little kick.
Ed Garrubbo, Editor