Linguini con vongole (a.k.a. linguini with clams) is a classic Italian pasta dish. Italian restaurants in America make it with canned clams all too often which is unfortunate because the real thing, made with fresh clams, cannot be beat. The linguini is undercooked slightly and then it finishes cooking in the white wine and clam sauce absorbing all of that wonderful flavor. Garlic and herbs are all that is needed to complete this lovely dish. Picture yourself sitting in a rustic Italian restaurant overlooking the sunny Mediterranean Sea as you eat this dish! I like to serve this with other simple Italian foods such as bruschetta or marinated artichokes and, of course, chilled glasses of Italian white wine.
Bruschetta con Pomodori
Linguini con Vongole
Rapini with Garlic
Chilled Italian White Wine


2 pounds small or medium clams, scrubbed well
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 ounces linguini
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped italian parsley

Cooking Instructions

Bring 3 to 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot.

Place the clams, wine and black pepper in a large skillet. Cover and turn the heat to high. Cook the clams, shaking the pan every so often. After the clams have been cooking for about 3 minutes, check to see if any have opened. Keep checking; once about 3/4 of clams have opened, transfer to a bowl. Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve lined with cheesecloth to remove any sand. Measure the strained liquid. If it is less than a cup, add enough wine to make it 1 cup.

Add the linguini to the pot of boiling water. While the pasta is cooking, combine the olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes in a large skillet. Turn the heat to medium. As soon as the garlic begins to sizzle, turn the heat to low. Cook until the garlic begins to turn golden (about 4 minutes.) Add the reserved cooking liquid to the skillet and raise the heat back up to medium. Let simmer for about 2 minutes and then add the minced basil and half of the parsley.

Add the clams back to the skillet and cover. Cook until all of the clams have opened, discarding any that don't open. When the pasta is almost done cooking, drain and toss it into the skillet. Continue cooking until the pasta is tender but firm (al dente.) Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the additional chopped parsley.

Makes 2 to 3 servings



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elliemay's blog

It is very easy to determine if clams are alive and healthy or not. Healthy clams will have closed shells that are very hard to move from side to side. If they are open or have cracked shells, they should be discarded. If they are slightly open but close tightly once touched, they are fine.

If your clams are very sandy, try soaking them in cold water for about 20 minutes prior to washing. As the clams breathe they filter water. When the fresh water is filtered, the clams push sand out of their shells.

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