One food that truly makes me think of summer is clams! I know it’s most likely because I grew up at the Jersey shore where clams are plentiful. But, the slight salt water brine and the hint of sweet of meat makes them a seasonal favorite. I love steamers right off the grill for my purist form of consumption for clams. But the other way I enjoy them if I’m going to pair them is with pasta! So today I’m bringing you a summer simple recipe for Linguine with clams (or con Vongole as you’ll see on Italian menus).
This recipe is light and really puts the emphasis on the clams. Using a touch of white wine, some garlic and pasta water are really all that’s needed to dress the pasta. I like to add a herb note too with some fresh parsley. A squeeze of lemon juice can be added to top it all of if you want a little more brightness.
As for the clams, if you’re lucky like me you can pick up a pack of fresh littleneck clams right from your local farmers market (that were most likely caught that morning!). But I’m fully aware not everyone has the luxury of living so close to the water. Talk to your grocers seafood department to see if they carry little neck clams. These are my favorite because the meat is so sweet!
If you can’t get fresh clams, canned are fine! Just skip the clam cleaning and Shell anecdotes in the recipe below. The canned clams (drain and rinse them before adding to pan) will only need to be cooked for 3-4 minutes in your white wine sauce before they are ready to be tossed with pasta.
My husband and I enjoyed a big bowl of our linguine with clam sauce with extra crusty bread to sop up all the extra white wine sauce. And of course paired the meal with that white wine we opened for the cooking. I usually use a refreshing Pinot Grigio that’s light and crisp.
Sit outside on your decks and patios and make a summer weekend night of this meal. The simplicity of it is what makes it so darn tasty!
…all for the love of the dish
- 3/4 lb linguine
- 3lbs littleneck clams in the shell
- 3/4 dry white wine
- 1/4 cup pasta water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp crushes red pepper
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
- Bring a large salted pot of water to rolling boil. Cook pasta according to box instructions and reserve 1/4 cup pasta water before draining.
- Meanwhile, scrub your little neck clams clean. I use a new dish sponge and hot water just to remove any grit. Discard any that are already opened or cracked.
- In a deep, large sauté pan or pot that had a lid, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add white wine and allow to cook down for 2-3 minutes. Add half the parsley, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Stir to mix.
- Pour in clams and turn heat to medium/high. Cover and allow to cook 7-10 minutes or until all clams open. Discard of any that do not open.
- Once your clams are done squeeze the juice from the lemon and the reserved pasta water over the clam mixture.
- Divide out the pasta and pour your desired amount of clams and the white wine sauce over each plate.
- Finish your Plated off with a sprinkling of the remaining chopped parsley.
- Serve with crusty bread to mop up all the extra sauce!