March 24

LINGUINE CON VONGOLE

Linguine con vongole is one of those pasta dishes that you can find basically anywhere in coastal Italy. Mysteriously, in the States, it is often presented cloaked in a tomato-based sauce, not how you’d find it in Italy (though they might throw in a handful of fresh chopped tomatoes at the end). The pasta and clams come generously brothy, and I love to fai la scarpetta (sop up the sauce with a piece of bread).

 

Kosher salt
1 pound linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 pounds cockles, soaked
in salted water and scrubbed
1 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread, for serving

 

  1. Fill a large pot with water and add enough salt so the water tastes like seawater, and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package until 2 minutes shy of al dente.
  1. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Add the cockles and white wine and shake to combine. Cover and cook until the cockles open, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the lid and discard any cockles that haven’t opened (those are dead). Add the butter, parsley, and red pepper flakes and shake the pan to combine. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the cockles. Cook, tossing to combine, until the pasta is al dente and absorbs some of the clam juices. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and serve immediately with slices of bread on the side to sop up the juices in the bowl.