If you ask Lisa what her favorite dinner was, without hesitation she would say Linguine with clams. Luckily for us, you can get farm-raised littleneck clams at most supermarkets. And they’re pretty darn close to wild-caught.
While it’s not my favorite meal, it is one of my favorites to prepare, because of how easy it is to make! For that same reason, it’s one of the first entrées I teach my students to make.
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED TO MAKE CLAMS AND Linguine?
The list of ingredients is pretty short.
- little neck clams
- olive oil
- garlic cloves
- crushed red pepper flakes
- fresh basil
- sea salt
Bags of farm-raised littlenecks are readily available in most grocery stores in this area, so they are easy enough to find, and a bag of 50-60 usually runs around $ 25.00. Add in a pound of linguine and a special dinner for two just became very affordable!
HOW DO YOU COOK CLAMS FOR CLAMS AND Linguine?
The first step is to rinse the clams thoroughly in cold clean water. I let them soak in the water using a colander. Then dump out the water and repeating the process 5 times or until the water is clear and free of sand and debris. If any of the clams are open, they are dead and must be discarded.
This is an important part of the recipe to ensure your clams and linguine is sand-free. Clams burrow themselves in the sand and washing them well can get rid of the grit you don’t want in your dinner.
Chef Dennis Tip:
One very important thing to remember about clams is that they come in a mesh bag for a reason, so they can breathe. If you place them in a plastic bag to get them home, remove them from the bag immediately when you get home and place them in a bowl uncovered in the refrigerator. The cold might open some of the clams, but they will close if they are not dead when you move them around.
The next step is adding olive oil, chopped garlic, crushed red pepper, fresh chopped basil and clams in a large pot with a lid and steaming them open. It’s really that simple. You can add other spices or wine to make them exactly how you like them. The clams will be done cooking in 7-9 minutes on high heat.
HOW DO I KNOW THE CLAMS ARE COOKED?
Once the clams have all opened they are fully cooked. Keep the clams covered until ready to serve.
Timing is everything with this dish
First of all start your pot of water for the pasta heating up, while the water is coming to a boil get out your clams and wash them off in cold water.
This is the time for you to inspect your clams, an open clam is a dead clam, (if you tap it and it closes it’s just trying to fool you) so discard any open clams. If a clam gets broken by miss handling it will die and it will smell…..this does not mean all the clams are bad but it will impart an odor to the rest of the clams, just rinse them well in cold water.
To add to the restaurant experience, make a nice tossed salad and some crusty bread and you’ll have a feast! Throw in a glass of your favorite white wine or prosecco and you’ve made dinner a memorable occasion.
I know that purists will tell you that you Never put cheese on seafood, but it’s what you enjoy and how you like to eat. If you like grated cheese like we do, then add it on and enjoy your meal.