Linguine con le Vongole (Linguine with Clam Sauce)
This is an excellent recipe for Linguine con le Vongole (Linguine with Clam Sauce). I found it at epicurious.com where it is credited to Mario Batali.
Mario calls for only 1 pound of clams for 4 – 6 servings. That may be fine if you’re serving this as a first course pasta dish, but for a main dish I double the clams.
You can successfully cut the recipe in half for 2 – 3 servings, as I did last night. Just cut the ingredients in half. For the tomatoes, use half of a 14-ounce can of tomatoes; freeze the rest for next time.
Some of the reviewers at epicurious thought a tablespoon of red pepper flakes made it too spicy. They must have spicier red pepper flakes than I have; I thought it was perfect and really not all that spicy.
A key component to this recipe is undercooking the pasta so it finishes in the sauce. It will soak up a lot of flavor in the last minute or so. The actual cooking goes very quickly, so get all of your ingredients ready to go before you put the pasta in the boiling water.
You’ll be really happy if you have this linguine with a good bread to soak up the yummy sauce!
Linguine con le Vongole
(Adapted from Mario Batali’s recipe via epicurious.com)
Serves 4 – 6
2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
1 pound linguine
12 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 pounds clams
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine (you can substitute a good quality clam juice)
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juice
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, coarsely chopped
Heat 8 quarts of water for the pasta.
While the water is heating, get the other ingredients ready. Scrub the clams. Slice the garlic. Chop the parsley. Measure out the pepper flakes and wine. Chop the tomatoes if they’re whole.
When the pasta water is ready, add the salt and the pasta. My linguine said to cook for 10 minutes, so I set the timer for 9 minutes.
In a large pan, heat 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds. Add the clams and red pepper flakes and stir for about 1 minute. Add the wine, tomatoes and ½ cup of parsley. Simmer, uncovered, until the clams open, about 7 – 8 minutes.
Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and add it to the clams. Stir and cook for about a minute more, until the pasta is done. Add some of the reserved pasta water if it seems too dry.
Remove from heat, add the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil, teaspoon of pepper flake, and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and serve.