Linguine with Clams (Linguine con le Vongole)
In contrast to American renditions of this dish, which often feature a heavy tomato sauce, the Italian version focuses on the pasta itself. The clam and tomato accompaniment is light and simple. Red pepper flakes add a bit of heat, but you can reduce the amount if you prefer less spice.
In Italy, the clams would most often be the small-shelled variety known as carpet-shells. In America, the best substitutes are cockles or Manila or littleneck clams.
- 3 tablespoons kosher or coarse sea salt
- 1 pound linguine
- 12 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 pound New Zealand cockles or 24 Manila or littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 (14-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes in juice, juice reserved and tomatoes coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
PreparationIn large pot over moderately high heat, combine 8 quarts of water to boil and salt. Bring to boil, then add linguine and cook to 1 minute short of al dente according to package directions (pasta should still be quite firm).
Meanwhile, in large sauté pan over moderately high heat, heat 6 tablespoons extra- olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add garlic and sauté until just golden, about 30 seconds. Add clams and 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes and sauté 1 minute. Add wine, tomatoes and juice, and 1/2 cup parsley and simmer, uncovered, just until clams open, 7 to 8 minutes.
Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain linguine and add to pan. Simmer, tossing occasionally, until linguine is just tender, about 1 minute. If necessary, add some of reserved cooking water to keep moist. Remove from heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and extra-virgin olive oil, tossing to coat. Transfer to serving dish and serve immediately.