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 and you overlook a sea of bills. 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. Soak the clams in cold water for several hours in order to loosen any internal sand.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In a large skillet over medium heat sauté the garlic in the olive oil until golden. Add the clams and cover the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the shells open - discard unopened clams. Remove the clams from the skillet with a wire-mesh strainer or slotted spoon. Remove most of them from their shells – saving a few in their shells. Place all shelled clams back into the skillet with the remaining liquid.
Cook the linguine until al dente. Drain, and add the pasta to the clam sauce. Add the clams in their shells as well. Cook for 2 minutes. Toss with the parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle with a little crushed red pepper for a kick.