I fondly remember digging for clams at low tide around the Cape Cod jetties with my family. It was a highlight of our summer vacation and a vivid memory of mine. We’d steam the clams and eat them as soon as they opened, dipping them in melted butter. Linguini with white clam sauce is one of my favorite shellfish dishes. I add bottled clam broth with the white wine, along with the traditional minced garlic, red pepper flakes and fresh parsley. Soak the clams in cool water before cooking which lets the sand release. With a quick scrub and rinse of the shells they’re ready to steam. Just a reminder to never eat an unopened clam. If it doesn’t open after cooking, just discard it. Yum!
- 2 dozen littleneck clams
- 1 pound linguini
- 2 tablespoons extra-vigin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional) or use more olive oil
- 5 large garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or more if you want it spicier
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup clam broth or reserved pasta water
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Kosher or sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Place the littleneck clams in a large bowl and cover with cool tap water and let the clams sit for 20 minutes or longer. This helps remove the sand and grit. Drain and scrub the shells under cold water.
- In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the linguini until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Reserve some of the pasta water when draining. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil, butter, garlic and crushed red pepper in a large skillet, over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, clam broth and the cleaned clams and simmer, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes. The clams will open, however if they don't, toss them. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Stir until reheated. If the sauce is too thick you can add some of the reserved pasta water. Serve the dish with the chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add salt and black pepper as needed.