Linguine with fresh clams in a garlic white wine sauce (authentically known as linguine vongole) is one of those dinners that sounds totally chic and fancy but is actually one of the easiest and budget-friendly Italian pasta recipes you can make.
I was recently sent the new Fred’s at Barney’s New York Cookbook by Barney’s New York’s chef Mark Strausman who teaches us how to make some of the famous dishes beloved for years by celebrities and chic shoppers in the fashion store’s Fred’s restaurant.
Flipping through the cookbook there were tons of recipes that looked divine, but when I found this recipe for Mark’s Baby Clams and Spaghetti, fresh clams went directly on my shopping list.
Clams and spaghetti at Fred’s became clams and linguine at my house, and now no matter which pasta you choose to prepare, this recipe is on it’s way to yours.
Preparing Clams for Pasta
Best clams for pasta: Like every clam I eat, I like the small clams the best, preferably New Zealand cockles, Manila clams, or little neck clams. They’re sweeter than larger varieties. And while you can make surely it with canned clams, fresh baby clams in the shell are the way to go.
How to clean clams for pasta: There’s plenty of theories out there for cleaning clams with flour, baking soda, or cornmeal. But in my experience, really all you need is about 20 minutes and 3 or 4 rounds of fresh water, tossing the clams in the water after they sit for a few minutes to expel the sand if there is any.
Fresh clams that are both open and closed can be used for the sauce, but if the shells don’t open, toss them! They’re dead.
see more: 28 Days of Lighter Pasta Recipes to Make
How to Make White Clam Sauce
This sauce couldn’t be easier to make for any level of cook. In fact, it’s pretty much a perfect starter for the beginning chef.
Use a good white wine for this recipe, Chef Mark suggests a dry white wine like sauvignon blanc or a trebbiano and make sure it’s of good enough quality to drink.
Thinly sliced garlic and crushed red pepper give this pasta it’s signature flavor. Feel free to add more or less of the crushed red pepper depending on how much heat you can handle. Chef Mark calls for 1 teaspoon but I cut it down to 3/4 teaspoon and while I like spice, it was just the right for me.
One twist to this recipe you won’t find in many other linguine and clams is Mark’s addition of crushed tomato to it.
Chef Mark calls for canned crushed tomato, but I found one medium fresh tomato worked just great and I didn’t have to open an entire 15-ounce can to fulfill his 1/4 cup requirement.
The clams will slowly open a they cook, releasing flavor and their flavorful juice as they cook. The recipe calls for jarred clam juice to give an even more beautifully briny bite to this dish.
Be sure you cook your pasta just ’til al dente. Adding the pasta to the clam sauce as they cook infuses the sauce’s flavor into the pasta for an extra special bite.
see more: 31 Healthy Shrimp Recipes to Make Now
Add These Recipes to Your Menu and Turn this Dinner Into a Meal
- How to Make an Awesome Antipasto Salad Platter
- Killer Garlic Rolls
- Avocado Caprese Salad
- Avocado Grapefruit and Fennel Salad
- Pancetta and Hazelnut Green Beans
- Roasted Asparagus with Browned Butter
Easy Linguine with Clam Sauce (Linguine con Vongole)
Look for the smallest clams you can find. The small clams are sweeter and make a better match for the mouthfuls of twirling pasta.
- 1 pound dried linguine
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 2 pounds small clams in their shells, such as cockles of baby clams (about 48-50)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup clam juice
- 1 medium tomato crushed well with your fingers and the skins removed
- 3/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Season generously with kosher salt and add the linguine, cooking until tender but al dente.
As the pasta cooks, get started on the sauce. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil with the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden. Add the clams and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine, clam juice, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes and stir. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the clams open and the liquid has reduced and thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
Once the pasta is done cooking, reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the linguine. Add the pasta to the clams and sauce and toss in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss until the pasta is evenly coated. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water a little at a time. Cook over low heat for 1-2 minutes and serve immediately.
More Seafood Recipes You Will Want to Make Too
- How to Make the Best Steamed Clams
- Market Street Clam Chowder
- The Best Clam Dip Recipe EVER
- Baked Lemon Herb Cod
- Crab Spaghetti with Lemon Gremolata
- Pan-Seared Citrus Shrimp Recipe
- Quick Easy Fish Stew Recipe
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