How to Make Linguine and Clam Sauce
This is one of those great pasta recipes that are perfect any time of year especially when you need to come up with a quick meal in the middle of the week.
Except for the fresh clams that are nice to include but not necessary, the rest of the ingredients can be purchased and stored in your pantry until needed. We try to always have a can or two of minced clams, a couple of bottles of clam juice and a few boxes of linguine or spaghetti in the pantry.
Quick & Easy Recipe to Prepare
What I love about this recipe is how easy it is to put together in a short amount of time. By the time the pasta is cooked, the clam sauce is ready.
The aroma of garlic sauteing in the extra virgin olive oil is enough to peak the senses but then add clams, a little parsley – wow – I can taste it just thinking about it.
There are lots of linguini and clam sauce recipes out there and I’m sure they are all very good. This is how my wife and I like to make it but it changes a little each time we prepare it depending on what we have on hand.
Sometimes we'll throw in some cherry tomatoes, other times we might substitute basil for parsley.
Last year we lost power during a winter storm and our neighbors came over to hang with us. The gas stove worked so we whipped up a big batch of linguini and clam sauce, opened a bottle of wine and huddled around the kitchen to stay warm. It was a perfect meal for the situation.
Linguine and Clam Sauce Recipe
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. As soon as the water comes to a boil, add the linguine pasta and cook accordingly until al dente. I mention now that you want to save a ¼ cup of pasta water before you drain it to add to the sauce.While the water is coming to a boil prep the other ingredients and start the sauce.
- Heat up a large frying pan over medium heat and when hot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and two tablespoons butter. When hot, add the garlic.
- Cook for about 1 minute and then add the hot pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Don't let the garlic burn.
- Add the clam juice and bring it to a boil.
- Lower the heat, add the minced clams with liquids and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the Little Neck clams to the pan, cover and cook until all the clams open up. This takes about 5 minutes. If any of the clams don't open, pick them out with tongs and toss them.Alternative - we sometimes steam the clams in another pot while the clam sauce is cooking and add them to the dish at the end.
- Add the chopped parsley and a couple of tablespoons of pasta water. Stir to combine.The reason for adding the pasta water is because it has starch in it from the pasta. This will help the sauce stick to the pasta. If the sauce is too thick, you can use the pasta water to thin it out a bit.
- Drain the pasta, add it to a big bowl.
- Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil to the pasta.
- Add the sauce, stir to combine, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Add the cooked clams on top and serve.
Where do you buy clam juice? I gather this is an American recipe as I've never heard of it...let alone clam mince! Can't wait to make this clam spag dish once I i can find those ingredients!
The Reluctant Gourmet
Hi Mir, I'm not sure if this is an American recipe or adapted from somewhere else but all these ingredients can be found in just about any supermarket you go to here in the US. According to wisegeek.org, "Clam juice is a liquid strained from freshly shucked clams. In some regions, this juice is made from cooked clams, while others use the liquid from fresh, raw clams. In either case, it has a briny flavor that complements a wide range of dishes." so if you can't find it in your market, you can make your own. Clam mince is just minced clams in a can for those in a hurry but if you can buy fresh clams, you can make your own clam juice and minced clams or just used whole clams. Even better.
The picture shows a stick of butter, but you do not use it. Did I miss a step? Do you use the butter?
The Reluctant Gourmet
You are right Helen. Thank you for pointing that out. It should be two tablespoons of olive oil with two tablespoons of butter to saute the garlic. I've make the corrections on the recipe. Thanks.