4 doz. medium-sized Cherrystone or Littleneck clams, about 5 lbs.
4 tbsp. of finely chopped garlic, about 12 cloves
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat (Italian) parsley
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
½ cup of dry white wine
2 8 oz. bottles of Clam Juice
1 & ½ lbs. dried Linguine (Barilla, DeCecco or other premium brand)
These steps can be performed in advance of serving the meal
1. Set a large pot (6-8 quarts) of water on the stove, cover it and bring to a boil. When it begins to boil, reduce heat, keep covered and hot.
2. Clean and shuck the clams, reserving the juices, you should have about 3 cups. Set aside 12 clams unopened – 3 for each pasta serving.
3. Chop the garlic.
4. Wash and dry the parsley, but do not chop it until just before adding to the sauce, that retains its color.
5. Heat the olive oil on medium in a large sauté pan, and add the butter.
6. When the butter is melted, foamy and bubbling, reduce heat to medium, add the garlic and cook it stirring continuously for about 1 minute.
7. Add the wine and return heat to high, bring to a boil, continue to boil for 3 minutes, stirring continuously
8. Add clam juice and reserved clam liquid. We prefer our clam sauce with a lot of liquid, if you prefer it on the dry side, than add only 1 bottle or none.
9. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes.
About 15 or 20 minutes before you are ready to serve the Linguine
1. Bring the pasta water and clam sauce to a full boil. Add the 12 reserved unopened clams to the sauce and cover.
2. Add kosher salt to the water and add the linguine. Cook the linguine until not quite al dente, about 7 minutes.
3. After the pasta has been cooking for about 3 minutes, remove the cover from the sauce, add the parsley and shucked, stir well, and continue cooking uncovered.
4. Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce in the pan, and mix it well with tongs until al dente.
5. Remove to a large bowl and serve, garnishing each dish with 3 clams that are still in their shells.
Hot crusty Italian Bread makes a great accompaniment, as does a good dry white wine such as Wairau River Sauvignon Blanc.
Please see Clam Shucking for the secret on opening clams.