Linguini alle Vongole
Linguine with Clams, called linguine alle vongole in Italy, is a dish you can find on almost any menu in an Italian American restaurant. In my family it is a summertime favorite, and even a great fish recipe for Lenten Fridays, or Christmas Eve for the Feast of the Seven Fishes. For this dish I use the smallest clams that I could find. In Italy when you eat this dish the size of the clams are comparable to the size of a dime. To me they taste better than the larger clams and are a little more sweet. Locally the smallest clams I could find are New Zealand clams. But ask your fishmonger for help. He or she can guide you in the right direction as far as the types of clams to use. But again, the smaller the better with this one. Be sure to serve this dish with crusty bread to mop up that delicious sauce.
⅔ Cup Olive Oil
10 Garlic Cloves
½ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
2½ Pounds Clams (I Use the Tiny New Zealand Clams), cleaned
16 Ounces Whole Plum Tomatoes
¾ Cup Pinot Grigio
½ Cup Bottled Clam Juice
¾ Teaspoon Salt
10 Basil Leaves, chopped
4 Tablespoons Butter
1 Pound Linguine
Bring a pasta pot to boil. Add salt.
Put the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in another pan and heat on a very low flame until the garlic is cooked through. Mash the garlic with a fork into the olive oil,
Then add the clams. Raise the heat to low/medium. Cover and cook until the clams start to open up, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, wine and clam juice and season with salt. Cover and cook until the shells of the clams open.
Add the basil and butter. Cook for another 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Some clams can be more or less salty. So, you might have to add more salt depending on the clams.
In the meantime, cook the pasta. Using a measuring cup, remove some of the pasta water and set aside.
Drain the pasta when al dente. Add the pasta to the sauce. If necessary add a little of the pasta water to make the sauce looser.