For the uninitiated, I must once again confess here to being a bit of a pasta freak. I love it – any form, any way, any time. But some of you know that already. I have no Italian heritage that would help to explain this, so I've come to just accept this rather peculiar component to my otherwise alarmingly normal self :)
And among my favorites of this cherished food group is definitely linguini with clams. And now here comes another confession….I’ve always made it before with already cooked, chopped clams. No, I’m not kidding. And now here comes another confession …the reason I’ve always made it with already cooked clams is that I've never liked the idea of having to kill something right before I eat it. Man, how on earth did this post become about my “issues “!?
But being the progressive, ever-evolving person I am, I took a big step here, folks and I killed some clams. I just told myself that if I’m going to eat linguini with clams, some clams are going to have to die at some point, so it might as well be there in my kitchen with soft music, nice lighting, and where the last things they smell before their demise are the lovely aromas of garlic, wine and olive oil. It’s a lovely clam death, I think. It’s how I would want to go out.
And then for all that, I was rewarded with one of the tastiest bowls of linguini and clams ever. This is a very simple dish, a peasant dish, if you will. It’s cheap, it’s easy, it’s amazingly delicious, and if you don’t mind killing a few mollusks, you will be well rewarded too.
Linguini with Clams
Adapted from Peter Minakas of Kalofagas
Keep your clams on ice in the fridge until you're ready to use them. I've kept them for 2 days like this, adding ice as needed. Be sure to clean your clams by soaking them in cold water for about an hour before you cook them. The clams will spit out any sand that might be inside.
1 – 2 lbs of fresh clams (about 6 per person)
1 package of dry linguine
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 small red onion, finely diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, well minced
1 tsp. of dried chilli flakes (I used ¼ tsp)
1 cup dry white wine
zest and juice of 1 lemon (no more than 2 tablespoons)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
Place a large pot of water on your stove-top and bring to a boil. Add a good amount of salt and when the water begins boiling, add your linguine and cook to “al dente” or for about 8-9 minutes. Strain and reserve a cup of pasta water (toss in some olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking if the linguine is ready before your clams are).
While the pasta cooks, add the olive oil to a large skillet that's been heated over medium hea. Add the diced red onions, garlic and chilli flakes and cook for about 5-6 minutes so that your onions sweat.
Now add the clams and white wine and crank the heat to high. Place the lid on the skillet and cook the clams for about 6-7 minutes or until they all open (discard any that do not).
Strain your pasta and add it into the skillet with the clams, plus the lemon zest and lemon juice and fresh chopped parsley (reserve some parsley for serving). Toss the linguine well to coat it with the sauce. Add some pasta water if sauce looks too dry. Taste for seasonings and add more salt or lemon juice if needed.
Turn the pasta out into a large serving bowl and sprinkle with the reserved parlsey. Drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil and maybe a little extra lemon juice on top and serve.