Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy As a Clam, I Am - Linguine con Vongole

I don't really have a clever anecdote for this recipe. I just wanted it. And when I get a "hankerin" for Linguine and Clams.... Well, there is just no denying it. OK, there is, but it's usually only a matter of waiting until I can get my hands on Manila Clams. Which I finally did this evening. Thus my constant craving for Linguine con Vongole has finally been satiated.

I love adding leek to this dish, I think it adds a roundness to the clam flavor. I have to thank Tyler Florence for turning me onto the idea of toasted bread crumbs as a garnish, although I like a little more crunch, so I use Panko instead.

Yes, I am now gorged on Linguine and Clams.

I am happy as a clam. ahr ahr ahr!!!!!

Linguine con Vongole

1 lb Dried Linguine
Sea Salt for the water
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus more for serving
2 small leeks, halved and sliced thin (white and light green parts)
4 garlic cloves, slivered
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds littleneck or Manila clams, scrubbed and rinsed well
3/4 cup Pinot Grigio or other Dry White (Sauvignon Blanc – Go for Grassy flavors)
1 Lemon; Juice & Zest
3 TB unsalted Butter
Sea salt (This is important, it DOES taste different)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 handfuls fresh Italian Parsley, finely chopped; possibly divided, it is your choice
(optional) 2 TB Panko; lightly toasted (I picked this up from Tyler Florence, and I LIKE it)

Aren't they gorgeous???

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, Salt it liberally
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium flame in a sauté pan with a lid.
Add the leeks, garlic and red pepper flakes; sauté for 2 minutes.

Add wine, lemon juice and zest; stirring to combine.

Then add the clams.

Cover and cook, shake the pan occasionally, until all the clams are opened, 7 - 8 minutes.

Drop your pasta cook 1 minute less than the lowest time on the package (cause your gonna cook it a second time)
Place Panko in a small skillet tossed with a small amount of olive oil.

Toast over medium heat until Golden Brown.

Chop Parsley.

Discard any unopened clams once 8 minutes is up.
Crank the flame up to medium-high heat.
Add Linguine and butter along with Sea salt and Pepper. (I use tongs to remove the pasta from the water)
Stir the pasta with the clams to it's nicely coated.
Pour contents into a warm Pasta bowl, sprinkle with at least 1 handful of the chopped parsley (this is to taste, I use the other handful when plating). Toss again.

Divide amongst the serving bowls.
Hit each plate with a drizzle of Olive oil, more parsley and a sprinkle of Toasted Panko.


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