Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

This is one of the first dishes I learned to make.  It is easy ---- but to make it well
  • don't overcook the clams --- they need  just a minute or two
  • don't overcook the linguine --- it should be chewy (al dente)
Look for the best canned clams you can find.  I like Bar Harbor.  And use a mix of whole and chopped clams, one can of each, including their juices.
Of course, fresh clams would make it even better.  But they weren't available or within my budget in my early cooking years.  This was a dish I could make with pantry items, as long as I had a bunch of fresh parsley.   

Linguine with White Clam Sauce 

Serves 4 

1 lb. good quality dried linguine
salt for the pasta pot
1 can whole clams, including liquid
1 can minced clams, including liquid
1 bottle clam juice
2/3 cup fruity white wine
2 T. good quality brandy
5 T. extra virgin (fruity) olive oil
large bunch of Italian parsley, washed and dried well, and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
pepper  (salt is usually not needed due to the clams and their juices)
grated Parmesan (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.  Add a generous amount of salt to the water, and add linguine.  For al dente, our pasta took 9 minutes.  Set the timer.

In a large saute pan,  add the 5 T. of extra virgin olive oil.  
With 6 minutes left on the timer,  heat up the oil until it shimmers.  
Add the garlic and half of the parsley (save half for later) and cook for a minute, but don't let the garlic brown.
Carefully, add the wine and brandy and you will get hit with a big whiff of alcohol.  Be sure your heat is on high at this point.  Reduce the liquid in half and boil off the alcohol.  
Add the clam juice from the bottle and the juices from the canned clams, but not the actual clams.

Keep on high and boil down as much as you can until the timer buzzes for the pasta. 
Check to see if  the pasta is al dente.  If it is, put the clams in the liquid while you drain the pasta.
Then, add the pasta to the pan
Add the second half of the parsley
Stir it all together and let the pasta soak up all of the sauce.  
Using tongs, gather the linguine and twist it into an individual serving bowl.  Using a ladle, find a mix of whole and chopped clams plus extra juices and pour over the pasta.
If desired, sprinkle Parmesan on top.


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