Monday, September 21, 2009

Linguine with Clam Sauce

I have made this dish before, but last night was by far the best. I think it is because I let the sauce simmer and reduce while the pasta was cooking. It is also key not to use all of the clam juice, but half and make up the rest with broth. By the way, this meal is very inexpensive because I use canned clams in lieu of fresh clams.

I served it with a caprese salad topped with my homemade basil pesto. Just slice ripe tomato and fresh mozzarella. Season the tomato with salt and pepper, alternate the slices of tomato with mozzarella, drizzle with some of the pesto.

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsps butter, divided
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 (10 ounce) cans whole baby clams
the clam juice from 1 of the cans
10 ounces chicken, seafood or vegetable broth
juice and zest of 1 lemon
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 lb. linguine (I used multigrain)
salt and pepper
fresh grated parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt the olive oil into 1 Tbsp of butter. Add the shallot and cook until soft and translucent, but not browned, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sautee for another minute or two. Add the red pepper and clams and sautee for a minute. Add the clam juice and broth; let simmer while the pasta is cooking. Some of the liquid will cook out and that is good. The clams will absorb some of it as well. When the pasta is almost done add the lemon juice and the remaining Tbsp of butter to the sauce.

By this time the water should be boiling, salt liberally, add the linguine. Cook for about 7 minutes, or as the box directs. When the linguine is done, don't drain normally. Use tongs or a pasta spoon and take the pasta out and directly add to the skillet with the clam sauce. Don't worry about draining the pasta really well as you scoop it out, some of the pasta water is good.

Add the lemon zest and parsley, toss the linguine well with the sauce. Add some parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste; toss well again. Divide among 4 bowls. Serve with a little extra cheese on top.

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