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Linguine with Clam Sauce

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Serves 2 to 3

  • To learn more, read:
    Linguine with Clam Sauce
  • by Perla Meyers from Fine Cooking
    Issue 88

Linguine with clam sauce should be packed with flavor: nicely garlicky and a little spicy. Most of all it should taste of fresh, delicious clams with the unmistakable tang of the sea. Fresh, in-the-shell clams are the key to getting this true clam flavor, and tiny littlenecks are the tenderest. 

  • 24 littleneck clams
  • 6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 5 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus a few whole leaves for garnish
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 oz. linguine or spaghettini (I like De Cecco, Due Pastori, and Rustichella d’Abruzzo brands)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Scrub the clams under cold water and set aside. In a heavy 3-qt. saucepan, heat 3 Tbs. of the oil over medium heat. Add the pepper flakes and cook briefly to infuse the oil, about 20 seconds. Immediately add the wine, 2 Tbs. of the chopped parsley, and half of the minced garlic. Cook for 20 seconds and add the clams.

Cover and cook over medium-high heat, checking every 2 minutes and removing each clam as it opens. It will take 5 to 6 minutes total for all the clams to open. Transfer the clams to a cutting board and reserve the broth. Remove the clams from the shells and cut them in half, or quarters if they’re large. Return the clams to the broth. Discard the shells.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until it’s almost al dente, 6 to 9 minutes. Don’t overcook.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil in a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 3 Tbs. chopped parsley and the rest of the garlic and cook until the garlic is just soft, about 1 minute. Set the skillet aside.

When the pasta is done, reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta. Add the pasta, the clams, and the broth the clams were cooked in to the skillet. Return to low heat, toss the pasta in the sauce, and simmer for another minute to finish cooking it, adding a little of the pasta water if you prefer a wetter dish.

Taste for salt and add a large grind of black pepper. Serve immediately, garnished with the parsley leaves.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on three servings; Calories (kcal): 670; Fat (g): 30; Fat Calories (kcal): 270; Saturated Fat (g): 4; Protein (g): 31; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 20; Carbohydrates (g): 63; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4; Sodium (mg): 330; Cholesterol (mg): 50; Fiber (g): 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I was very brave and made this for the first time ever for my boyfriend for Valentine's Day. It came out excellent and was very filling! Loved the recipe. Definetly would recommend it!

By far the best linguine and clam recipe ever! Cooking the clams right in the wine really intensifies the flavor. I did not add any additional pasta water at the end. I also made my own pasta. Magnifico!

Simple, easy, fast, delish. What's not to love. I got the most beautiful, tiny manila clams at the farmers market. Served with garlic toast to soak up the juices. Served over artisan spinach linguine. Yum!

This is the best linguine vongole we've ever had.

by jstoudt, 1/12/2009 This is a favorite dish of my husband and an awesome dinner. He requests it for Valentines day, Birthdays and any special occassion. It is very authentically Italian and full of flavor. I seem to have the best luck when I keep the amount small (4 to 6). For some reason it dosen't work as well for more. I also add more cherry stones to the origional. It's definitely a keeper and one I'll hand down to my daughter.

This was an awesome dish, full of flavor and certainly easy to make. It's definitely a keeper.

I have made this recipe twice and it is by far the best linguine with clam sauce I have had. I rate it five star without any reservations. The recipe works quite well and requires no special technique. Obviously, one must not overcook the pasta or the clams. One must take care to use fresh garlic and certainly not overheat it or the recipe will be ruined. I tend to use a bit more red pepper and this recipe can stand up to it well.

It wasn't bad I just come to expect more. It was a very, very adequate recipe.

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