Linguine with Clams
For really vibrant flavor, marinate your garlic and chili flakes in olive oil in advance of cooking. To complement the meal, serve this classic Italian pasta dish with a bottle of crisp white wine. From the book "Lucinda's Rustic Italian Kitchen," by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Wiley).
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, 2 smashed and peeled, and 2 thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 3 dozen littleneck clams or 4 dozen cockles
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal or flour
- 1 pound linguine pasta
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Up to 8 hours in advance but as little as 1, place the olive oil, garlic, and red-pepper flakes in a large pasta serving bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
To clean the clams, rinse them and place in a large bowl with cold water and the cornmeal or flour. The live clams open to ingest the corneal, thereby releasing any remaining sand. Let soak 10 minutes. Scrub each clam clean under cold running water to remove remaining, softened mud from shell and return to soak in fresh cold water. If necessary, repeat the scrubbing process a couple of times until the clams are completely clean and soaking water is free of sand. Drain and chill until ready to cook.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the boiling water, add the linguine, and cook until tender but still firm. Set the timer for 2 minutes less than the package instructions specify and taste for doneness.
Meanwhile, in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, bring 1/4 cup of water to a boil. Add the cleaned clams, cover immediately, and steam until the clams are open, 3 to 5 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open.
Place the cooked clams with the shells into the marinated olive oil. Strain the cooked clam liquid into the bowl. Add pasta and parsley and toss. Serve immediately with a drizzle of spicy olive oil on top.