Sunday, March 10, 2013

Linguine and Clams

This is a family recipe (FR). My dad has made this a thousand times and has long been one of his signature dishes to serve visitors. It has become one my signature dishes as well. For many years, I stuck to a rather simple preparation and set of ingredients. Over the last few years, I've strayed, tossing in  this and that for exploration. The recipe is fairly conducive and robust to tweaking. I almost always use linguine though, and use fettucine the rare times that I don't. Never spaghetti or angel hair or any shaped pasta. No, got to go with linguine on this one. Its best with a combo of fresh and canned whole baby clams. I often use just use canned chopped or whole (not minced).

The following recipe is for about 4 servings or for two-three people with good appetites.
(lets get real here, who eats only 2 oz dry of pasta for dinner? Even on WeightWatchers I do  3 oz)

Double recipe for 4-6 people.


  • 8 oz (dry) linguine
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil (save some for finishing)
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 medium or so choppped yellow onion (I like onion, so I may use a whole large)
  • ~ 6 oz sliced mushrooms,( I like them noticeable, but not too mushroomy, wild milds like oyster, chantrelle or hedgehogs are good too).
  • ~1 cup white wine
  • pinch oregano
  • salt
  • 1-  6 oz can chopped clams with juice (use only USA brands like Snow's)
  •       + optional ~1/2 lb of hardshell clams
  • ~1/3 cup sliced black olives (the blacks really tie this dish in both in color and flavor accents)
  • chopped parsley (either type but I go light on Italian and like the curly leaf a better in this recipe)
chopped zuchini
thinly sliced peices of red bell pepper
 grape or cherry tomatoes halved
maybe a few chopped sun-dried tomatoes
lemon pepper
tab of butter (mmm!)

Garnish with:
Fresh grated Pecorino Romano (because I like it better than padana or reggiano)
Crushed red-pepper (adds the perfect spicy zing)
Dashes of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Use a big enough non-reactive saute or sautoir pan on medium heat, add oil, when oil is warm add garlic halves, saute gently until just beggining to brown, remove. Add onions sweat down a bit, (at this point add optional veggies, if you are using such as zuchini, you'll have make a call on when and how long they'll need to cook) add mushrooms cook down some more (some shrooms tend to dry out the pan a bit until they release, so go easy on the heat at this point, but I add then at this point only because I don't like overcooked to nothing mushrooms).  Add the parsely/herbs.  Add wine and bring to boil, let off some of the alcohol, then add the clams, juice and olives.  Bring just up to boil then reduce to light simmer, cover. At this point you really don't need to cook this anymore, let it sit just at simmer or lower for awhile to flavor meld. If using hardshell clams throw those in with the wine so the steaming wine cooks them a bit or cook separate and add at end. You can also add the cooked (al dente) and drained pasta to the whole deal and cook it some more to give the pasta a bit of extra flavor. Its how the experts do it. 

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