Have you all been practicing making your garlic and oil sauce? Don’t worry if you have had to practive a few times to get it perfect. It’s all in the timing of getting the garlic a perfect gold color and then stopping the cooking by adding the parsley cooling it off.
Now that you have mastered the basic recipe of Garlic and Oil Sauce the next sauces will be easy. Linguini White Clam was another very popular dish at “the restaurant”. It uses the same ingredients and the same exact method as the garlic and oil recipe with the addition of clams. We will be omitting the salt since the clams are already salty. In the restaurant we used cherrystone clams (big clams) instead of the littlenecks (baby clams). We liked using the cherrystone clams because they had the most clam juice and also because they yielded the most clams with the least amount of shucking. We don’t recommend canned clams. To get “the restaurant” flavor always use fresh clams!
Shucking a clam doesn’t require strength. It requires a little knowledge to get the clam knife through the opening of the clams cutting the muscle that keeps it shut tight. Once the clam knife penetrates into the cavity of the clam then you turn the knife upwards to cut through both ends of the muscle that attach the clam to the shell. If you feel intimidated by shucking a clam you could always ask the fishmonger at the seafood market to shuck them for you. Also another trick is to put the clams in the freezer for an hour which will relax the muscle that keeps the clam shut tight. The clam knife will be easier to wedge in between the clam shell. An even easier way is to put the clams in the freezer for 3 hours. Then bring them out and let them thaw. As they thaw they will open up for you.
Linguini White Clam
(Served over 1 pound of linguini)
A dozen cherrystone clams (shucked and save ½ cup clam juice)
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs chopped Italian parsley
4 medium cloves of thinly sliced thin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Wash and scrub the clams. Shuck the clams and save all the clam juice. Put the clam juice aside to allow all the sand and clam bits to settle. Chop the clams well. Pour off the clear clam juice discarding the sandy settlement. Saute the garlic in the extra virgin olive oil until golden. Take the skillet off the burner and throw in the chopped parsley. Pour in the ½ cup of clear clam juice, the chopped clams and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Return to medium high heat. The clam sauce will foam as the clam juice evaporates. Keep stirring. Once the foam forms to the center of the pan the clams will be cooked (probably around 3 minutes). Add a ladle (1/4 cup) of starchy pasta water from your pasta that has been cooking to the white clam sauce.
Cook the pasta according to your liking. We always make our pasta aldente! You may either add the sauce to the pasta or you can add the pasta to the skillet to soak up some of the sauce and then pour it all in a big pasta bowl and serve. Depending on whether you want to serve this dish as a first course or main course, it can serve anywhere from 2-6 people.
A variation of the White Clam Sauce is Red Clam Sauce. It is the same recipe except for one ingredient. Instead of the 1/4 cup of pasta water, at the end you add a 1/4 cup of marinara sauce. Use the 825 MAIN Marinara! I promise it will be the exact taste of “the restaurant”!