RCP: finally got linguini in clam sauce right

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RCP: finally got linguini in clam sauce right

Postby Thomas » Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:13 am

For two:

Put aside a handful of fresh oregano leaves, parsley bunch chopped, about 1/2 cup grated reggiano, and some fresh basil leaves. 24 Littleneck clams and a box of linguine. Three tbl spoon olive oil. 1/2 cup white wine. A little lemon juice.

In a large S.S. pot, saute chopped onion and two garlic cloves in tbl spoon olive oil a couple of minutes, add a little hot pepper flakes to taste. Deglaze with white wine, let cook down a minute or two.

Add water to the pot, just enough to cover the clams--medium heat. Rinse clams and put them into the pot, cover. Also, bring a separate pot of water (with some lemon juice in it) to a boil for the linguine.

Put linguine into boiling water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

Keep checking the clams. You want to get them out of the pot as soon as the shells open, one at a time if need be; then, remove the clams, one by one from their shells and put into a bowl. Leave the heat going under the S.S. pot.

Take partially cooked linguine out of the water and add it, the clams, oregano, and parsley into the S.S. pot. Do not cover. Mix everything and let the linguine finish cooking 3 or 4 minutes.

Remove linguine and clams with one of those spaghetti remover things, and divide into two plates. Pour half the liquid (with herbs, onion, garlic) into each plate, top with grated cheese, a few basil leaves and drizzle tbl spoon olive oil over each plate.
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Re: RCP: finally got linguini in clam sauce right

Postby Jenise » Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:51 am

I'm drooling! Vongole is one of my favorite foods on earth (made all the dearer because hubby can't eat clams, so I'm in an ever-constant state of withdrawal and craving), and I can well imagine that all the fresh herbs would put this on top of the best I ever had.
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Re: RCP: finally got linguini in clam sauce right

Postby Thomas » Sat Sep 14, 2013 12:21 pm

Jenise,

In Sicily, they top it with bread crumbs rather than cheese. But I hate soggy bread.

I've had this dish in Italy a number of times, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to do it. Sometimes, we get small cockles in our market--they are even better than the Littlenecks for linguine, and they remind of the tiny vongole of Italy.
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Re: RCP: finally got linguini in clam sauce right

Postby Jenise » Sat Sep 14, 2013 12:48 pm

Thomas wrote:Jenise,

In Sicily, they top it with bread crumbs rather than cheese. But I hate soggy bread.

I've had this dish in Italy a number of times, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to do it. Sometimes, we get small cockles in our market--they are even better than the Littlenecks for linguine, and they remind of the tiny vongole of Italy.


Here, I would buy the tiny manila clams for the same reason. In Italy, was yours served with cheese? I don't recall it the time in Rome I ordered it, and my general understanding is that Italians don't usually put cheese on seafood, though maybe if pasta's involved it's open-season.
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Re: RCP: finally got linguini in clam sauce right

Postby Thomas » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:05 pm

I can't recall grated cheese served on a dish in Italy. At the table yes, but not already in the dish.
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Re: RCP: finally got linguini in clam sauce right

Postby Carrie L. » Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:09 pm

Thomas, do you ever order it out at restaurants? We don't very often since there are so many weird versions out there! With cream, strange herbs, etc. Over the years, I also have "perfected" a version for our tastes. Your version sounds delicious too! I use Italian parsley (and lots of it), but no oregano, and lemon zest instead of the lemon juice. Also, we like a good amount of chopped clams (with their juice) in our sauce. Canned will do. :) Fresh clams only when we feel like messing with them. They aren't necessary for us here. (We usually prefer to just have our clams steamed in olive oil, wine and herbs with a good bread for dipping.) Finally, we really like the linguine "rigate" Barilla makes with little ridges in it. Seems to hold the sauce best.

My understanding is that in true Italian cuisine, you would never see grated cheese on a seafood dish. I know a lot of people like it that way. We just really like the flavor of the seafood to shine. Now, lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs is another story... Cheese please!
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Re: RCP: finally got linguini in clam sauce right

Postby Howie Hart » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:06 am

Thomas wrote:Put linguine into boiling water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes...
....Take partially cooked linguine out of the water and add it, the clams, oregano, and parsley into the S.S. pot...

So, if I were to make this using fresh, home made linguine (or fettuccine) should I skip the first boiling step and add a bit of lemon juice with the deglazing wine?
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Re: RCP: finally got linguini in clam sauce right

Postby Thomas » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:39 am

Howie Hart wrote:
Thomas wrote:Put linguine into boiling water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes...
....Take partially cooked linguine out of the water and add it, the clams, oregano, and parsley into the S.S. pot...

So, if I were to make this using fresh, home made linguine (or fettuccine) should I skip the first boiling step and add a bit of lemon juice with the deglazing wine?


Howie: Probably so. I have not done it with freshly made pasta. The point of finishing pasta in the sauce is so that the pasta soaks up the sauce flavors. I do it with any pasta dish. We Americans generally like too much sauce flooded over our food, which obliterates subtlety.

Carrie: Yes, grated cheese is frowned upon back home. Unless I know the restaurant well, there are a few dishes that I do not order in an Italian restaurant in America; linguini and clam sauce is one of them. I can't dream of having this dish with canned clams. But then, few canned foods appeal to me.

I am one of those people who do not mind spending a lot of time to prepare and cook supper; it's my daily therapy. I make my own stock, yogurt and tomato sauce, and with an extensive herb and vegetable garden (and a freezer) I shun store bought for as much as I can thorughout the year. I even freeze jars of pumpkin soup and gumbo stock after the harvest.
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Re: RCP: finally got linguini in clam sauce right

Postby Carrie L. » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:30 pm

Thomas wrote: I can't dream of having this dish with canned clams. But then, few canned foods appeal to me.


Okay Thomas, your post has gotten me in the mood for linguine and clams. I found frozen clams at the grocery store and am going to give them a try. The reason I put chopped clams in is that we like our sauce full of chewy clams, not just liquid and the occasional clam in the shell...
I was going to add some fresh clams too, but there were none in the seafood case (and this is Maine!). Whuuut? They also didn't have the "rigate" linguine. :(
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Re: RCP: finally got linguini in clam sauce right

Postby Karen/NoCA » Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:18 pm

Carrie L. wrote:
Thomas wrote: I can't dream of having this dish with canned clams. But then, few canned foods appeal to me.


Okay Thomas, your post has gotten me in the mood for linguine and clams. I found frozen clams at the grocery store and am going to give them a try. The reason I put chopped clams in is that we like our sauce full of chewy clams, not just liquid and the occasional clam in the shell...
I was going to add some fresh clams too, but there were none in the seafood case (and this is Maine!). Whuuut? They also didn't have the "rigate" linguine. :(

Carrie, we have a restaurant here in Redding run by an Italian family. He claims the recipes are from his Grandmother. I love their linguini and clams. Lots of clams in the sauce mixed with the pasta and a bunch of fresh cooked clams in shell, all around the edges of the dish. The best of both. I always get it when we go there...unless I am in the mood for his Tuscan steak which is excellent too.
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Re: RCP: finally got linguini in clam sauce right

Postby Carrie L. » Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:56 am

Carrie L. wrote:
Thomas wrote: I can't dream of having this dish with canned clams. But then, few canned foods appeal to me.


Okay Thomas, your post has gotten me in the mood for linguine and clams. I found frozen clams at the grocery store and am going to give them a try. The reason I put chopped clams in is that we like our sauce full of chewy clams, not just liquid and the occasional clam in the shell...
I was going to add some fresh clams too, but there were none in the seafood case (and this is Maine!). Whuuut? They also didn't have the "rigate" linguine. :(


Last night made the clam sauce with frozen clams. The texture of the clams was nicer, and they did have a "fresher" taste, obviously, but next time I will need to make a few adjustments. It was missing, for us, a bit of the "clam" flavor. Could it have been because the frozen clams were not cooked first and then stored in their own salted cooking liquid (this liquid was "milky," but there were no other ingredients besides "clams and clam juice"?) What we found was that the other flavors now sort of overpowered the dish without that clam brine. Still, it was very good, and I will continue using the frozen clams when I can find them. I have a feeling my chances are better here in Maine than they will be when I get back to the desert! Thanks Thomas for shaming me into giving up the cans. ;) (I know you weren't thinking frozen either, but seeing as we like chopped clams it was the best alternative for us.)
Linguine with Clam Sauce.jpg
Linguine with Clam Sauce.jpg (158.47 KiB) Viewed 1348 times
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Re: RCP: finally got linguini in clam sauce right

Postby Thomas » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:07 am

Carrie, it looks good. My guess is that the frozen clams, when thawed, add too much water; that, plus the fact that steaming fresh clams in their shells, permeates the water that becomes the sauce with clam and clam shell flavor.
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Re: RCP: finally got linguini in clam sauce right

Postby GeoCWeyer » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:32 pm

I really love your method. I think it's great.
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