We feature Little Neck clams in our Paella at the Little Kitchen. Since it is cheaper to buy them by the bushel, we often have a few dozen left on Monday for this family favorite pasta dish at home. Of course, fresh linguine is our choice especially when we have an extra pound of Lemon Pepper linguine left after our Ambrose Sisters Food Co. farmer’s market appearances. The whole cooking process only takes about 30 minutes.
Be sure to have a bowl full of arugula and some ripe tomatoes on hand to accompany this meal with crunch and color.
Ingredients (serves 4):
4 dozen Little Neck clams
12 garlic cloves, cleaned and chopped
4 shallots, stemmed and chopped
10 stems of flat parsley, remove stems and chop
1½-cup dry white wine
1 pound fresh linguini (or 1 box dry linguini)
¾ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons salt
Start by chopping garlic, shallots and parsley while the clams soak in cold water for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 of the olive oil to a large pot over high heat. Follow the oil with half of the garlic and stir, then add the rinsed clams and stir once more. Add the wine and cover the pot with a lid and steam the clams until open (5-8 minutes).
Transfer the pot to your sink and begin removing the clams one at a time. Remove the clam meat and hold in a clean bowl, tossing the empty shell. Once all of the clams are removed, pour the remaining broth through a tight mesh and toss the waste while reserving the broth. Chop the clams lightly on a board and then place them back in the bowl making an effort to save all resulting juices.
Using the same pot, fill 3/4 with hot water and place on a high flame to bring to a boil. When the water is boiling hard, add the rest of the oil to a large saute pan on medium heat and then add the remaining garlic and shallots. Now add 3 tablespoons of sea salt to the water and stir in the pasta. Keep stirring and the pasta will be ready in 3 minutes (dry pasta will require 7 minutes). When the garlic begins to brown, pour the broth in the sauté pan and stir.
The final step involves adding the chopped clams and parsley to the broth and then transferring the pasta directly to the broth with tongs. Allow the pasta to cook for another 2 minutes in the broth over medium heat before serving.