(Serves four to six people)
This recipe is the very best I have ever used for this meal, and I really love linguine with white clam sauce. The recipe is a composite of different recipes I have tried in the past, with some additions I learned about from other folks, and it combines the best of flavors and procedures. Credit goes first to Marie’s sister Joanne who found the original excellent recipe. Then I made a few improvements. Most recently I modified the recipe based on what Linda Lange told me Patricia Mallon uses in her recipe, which includes two ingredients I had not used previously … oregano and a can of anchovies. Boy, did they amp up the taste! One ingredient I found in the original recipe and in other recipes was a choice of onions or shallots. I avoid both as I have found they interfere with the taste of the other ingredients.
A nice addition to this meal is a loaf of crusty Italian or French bread and butter. A small tossed salad is also nice as a side dish. If you want an appetizer I suggest bite size pieces of very ripe sweet cantaloupe wrapped in proscuitto ham. For the beverage I recommend pinot grigio, chardonnay or French white burgundy (like Louis Jadot® Pouilly Fuisse) wine as these have a clean taste that goes well with this particular meal. A glass of ice water along with the wine is also nice.
The white clam sauce has a very rich flavor. It is unforgettable and it will delight your guests. They will want the recipe.
1 lb. of linguine (uncooked)
1, 2 oz. Can of anchovies
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1, 6 oz. Drained weight can of ripe olives
¾ tsp. of red pepper flakes (Or less. Heat fanatics may add habanero flakes.)
¼ lb. of butter
2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil for the white clam sauce
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil for the linguine
6, 6 oz. Drained weight cans of chopped clams in clam broth
1, 10 oz. Drained weight can of whole baby clams in clam broth
¾ tsp. of dried oregano
1/4 cup of fresh parsley leaves, pressed gently into the measuring cup
1 tsp. of lemon zest
1 cup of pinot grigio or similar dry to medium dry white wine
½ tsp. of black pepper
½ tsp. of sea salt for the clam sauce
½ tsp. of salt for the linguine
2/3 cup of Parmesan cheese
Fill an eight-quart pot with four quarts of water and add ½ tsp. salt. Cover with a lid and heat on high. Start preparing the ingredients for the white clam sauce while the water is heating. When the water boils turn off the heat and keep the lid on the pot to retain heat.
Make the white clam sauce in a large deep skillet. Put the olive oil and one half stick of butter into the skillet and heat on low. Add the can of anchovies to the skillet.
Drain the can of ripe olives, discarding the liquid, and cut the olives in half lengthwise, then add the pieces to the skillet. Peel and then slice the garlic cloves into thin pieces and add half of them to the skillet. Stir gently to distribute ingredients evenly. At this point the skillet contents should be sautéing gently. If not, increase the heat to medium.
Drain the clam broth from the cans of clams into a one quart bowl and reserve it for later use in this recipe.
Add the red pepper flakes and the oregano to the skillet and mix gently. Sauté until the olives begin to wrinkle or until the garlic becomes a pale tan at the edges. Add the remainder of the garlic. Add the clams, mix gently and reduce the heat to low. Add the salt and the pepper to the skillet and simmer the contents gently on low heat while making the linguine.
Reheat the water in the pot to boiling. When it boils, add the linguine and stir it after one minute to avoid clumping. Partially cover the pot and boil the linguine for nine minutes (some brands require less than nine minutes). Drain it in a colander and mix it with ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil in a large bowl. Cover the linguine with plastic wrap to retain moisture and put it into a warm (200ºF) oven. Put the bowls for individual servings into the oven individually to pre-warm them as this will keep the meal pleasantly warm later while it is being eaten.
Pour the reserved clam broth through a very fine mesh sieve into the skillet slowly, avoiding any sand or grit that might be present on the bottom of the bowl. Mix the ingredients in the skillet and increase the heat to high. Add the wine and the parsley and continue mixing gently. When the skillet contents begin to boil reduce the heat to low and add the lemon zest. Mix gently and then add the remaining ½ stick of butter. Mix gently until the butter melts. The white clam sauce is done. Place it in a large pre-warmed bowl and provide a soup ladle for mixing and dispensing the sauce later.
Serve the Parmesan cheese in a small serving dish. Remove the linguine from the warm oven and serve it. Place the warmed serving bowls on place mats to avoid damaging the wood surface finish of your table.
Do not mix the sauce and the linguine together except in individual servings, for any leftovers must be kept separately from each other or the linguine will absorb sauce and become water logged.
Add the sauce to individual servings of linguine and top with Parmesan cheese.
After this feast dessert is generally unnecessary, but if you insist on having dessert later I suggest cherries jubilee. You can find an exact recipe for that item, but in general it is a bag of frozen pitted dark cherries and a small amount of water, cooked briefly with sugar, butter, corn starch and a touch of cherry liquor or brandy. The warm thickened mixture is served over a high quality vanilla ice cream, with a side of tea cookies and a cup of good coffee.
Prepare to join Weight Watchers®!