Linguine with Clams

15 May

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I talk a lot about branching out with the types of recipes and ingredients I make and use. Seafood is definitely one of those categories that I frequently say I need to cook more of and want to feel more confident cooking.

I am picky about where I buy my food from, especially when it comes to animal products. I also like the concept of using smaller amounts of meat and seafood rather than making it the focus of the plate.

So this linguine with clams, a classic pasta dish that I typically would not think to order or make, was a good way for me to balance my love of carbs (pasta with breadcrumbs = YES!) with my desire to cook more seafood.

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I bought the clams from a vendor at the farmers’ market. For those in New York City, they were from Pura Vida Fisheries. I also learned that clams do not have a season. One can purchase clams year-round.

The recipe I used comes from Bon Appetit. It involves making homemade breadcrumbs with lemon zest, slicing LOTS of garlic on the mandolin slicer and making a pan sauce with olive oil, pepper flakes, anchovies (another ingredient that I know I should, but don’t use often enough) and wine to steam the clams in.

For a seafood cooking novice like myself, clams cook in about 7 minutes, and it is SO exciting to open the lid of the pot and see that the clams opened.

The clams come out of the pot, the liquid remains in the pot, and in goes the cooked pasta with some of the starchy pasta water.

The final step is adding chopped parsley and butter, and then plating.

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Linguine with clams. Now I can check that off my bucket list and add it into rotation. Serve with a salad and some garlic bread.

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Linguine with Clams

recipe from Bon Appetit 

I also watched the video a few times before and while making the recipe, which I found very helpful

*Note: when I made this I used 16 ounces of pasta and the recipe served closer to 6

serves 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal or 1 tablespoon Morton kosher salt, plus more

12 garlic cloves, divided

4 ounces sourdough or country-style bread, crusts removed, cut into ½-inch pieces

2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for serving

2 teaspoons lemon zest

2 oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional)

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for serving

⅓ cup dry white wine

2 pounds littleneck clams (about 24), scrubbed

12 ounces linguine or spaghetti

½ cup finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

Bring 2 tablespoons salt and 10 cups water to a boil in a large pot.

Meanwhile, pulse 3 garlic cloves in a food processor until chopped. Add bread and pulse several times until fine crumbs form. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add breadcrumb mixture and cook, stirring often, until crumbs are golden and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add lemon zest, season with salt, and toss to combine; set aside.

Wipe out Dutch oven. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, very thinly slice remaining 9 garlic cloves. Heat 1/2 cup oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring often, until golden around the edges, about 3 minutes. Add anchovies, if using, and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden all over and anchovies are dissolved. Quickly stir in wine and simmer until only a couple of tablespoons liquid are left in the pot. Add clams and toss to combine. Cover and cook until clams are open, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover pot and transfer clams to a medium bowl, leaving liquid in the pot. If any clams are still closed, cover pot again and cook a few minutes longer, then transfer to a bowl with the others (discard any that have not opened at this point). Tent clams with foil.

Cook pasta in boiling water 5 minutes. Using a ladle or heatproof measuring cup, scoop out about 2 cups pasta cooking liquid. Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with clam liquid. Add 1 cup pasta cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Cook, tossing constantly and adding more pasta cooking liquid a splash at a time if needed, until pasta is al dente and sauce is glossy and thick enough to cling to noodles, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add parsley and butter and toss until butter is melted. Sprinkle about one-third of breadcrumbs over pasta and toss to combine (you can add more or less depending on how much liquid is in bottom of pot—you want them to absorb some of the sauce but not make it dry). Give pasta a taste; you probably won’t need additional salt, but you can add some if you’d like. Divide pasta among shallow bowls and top with reserved clams, more breadcrumbs, red pepper flakes, and a drizzle of oil. Or, mix everything together in the Dutch oven and serve family style. 

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