Sunday, March 6, 2011

Classic Linguine with Clams

1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup dry white vermouth
12-16 fresh clams, rinsed and scrubbed
1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon minced lemon zest
1 lb. linguine
1 can white clam sauce
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
parsley for garnish
Parmesan for garnish
I love shellfish!  Growing up, we weren't really a 'meat and potatoes' type of family.  We were more  'spaghetti and shellfish'!  I remember being at the Jersey Shore as a kid and instead of boardwalk fare like french fries and cotton candy, all I wanted was shrimp cocktail, oysters, mussels and of course, CLAMS!  This dish was one of the first things my parents taught me cook.  My father has a slightly different (secret) preparation, but this is my version of a classic Linguine with Clams.  Fresh, light and delicious!

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for cooking the linguine. Cook pasta for 15 minutes.

Next, in a large skillet, gently heat the oil with the garlic and red pepper flakes, until the garlic sizzles and just begins to brown, about 2 minutes.

Next add the vermouth, if you don't have vermouth in the house, a dry white wine will do the trick. Add the white clam sauce to the skillet and bring it to a boil, 2-3 mintues.  Add the clams and lemon zest and the juice of the lemon.  Cover and steam the clams over high heat for 5 minutes.
When the clams just begin to open, add the oregano and basil. Stir the herbs into the clam broth.  Once the clams have opened fully, remove from the heat.  Stir the broth over the opened clams gently.
One of my favorite expressions in the business world is "Let's throw it against the wall and see if it's sticks".  The same, literally, can be said with cooking pasta!
Drain the pasta and place it in a large bowl. Pour the broth over the noodles and toss well. Scatter the clams over the top and serve immediately. Garnish with parsley and parmesan to taste.

Enjoy! -John

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