After a few days break while my husband took over cooking duties in order for me to recover from the flu, I was back in the cooking saddle tonight. Fortunately, this dish seems really fancy, but comes together very quickly. The key is finding good clams. My local fishmonger just got a shipment of fresh clams in today, plus I always trust his stuff, but if you are shopping for clams, look for shells that are closed tight (or that close tightly if you tap on them gently). If you have any clams with broken shells or shells that won't close, discard those. Store your clams in the refrigerator in an open bag to allow the clams to breathe and don't store them for more than a few hours before cooking them. When you are ready to cook your clams, place them in a large bowl, fill the bowl with cool water, swirl and drain. Repeat this procedure a few times to help remove any sand that might be on your clams. It's not pleasant to have sand in your nice, tasty clam sauce. Clams are simple, delicious, elegant and cook in less than 5 minutes, perfect for a quick weeknight meal.
Pasta with Red Clam Sauce by Joie de vivre
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbls. olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 lbs. clams, rinsed and sorted according to above directions
1 1/2 c. white wine
1 28oz. can chopped tomatoes, with juices
1 c. chicken stock
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
black pepper, to taste
pasta noodles of your choice
1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and saute the onion until the onion is translucent and starting to brown.
2. Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes and cook for an additional minute until garlic is fragrant.
3. Add the white wine and scrape up any bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Bring the wine to a boil. Add the clams and cover the pot. Steam the clams with the lid closed for 5 minutes.
4. After 5 minutes, remove the clams to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Discard any unopened clams.
5. To the wine and onion mixture, add the chopped tomatoes, stock, oregano, basil and the pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Boil gently, uncovered for 20 minutes to reduce the sauce a little.
6. Cook your pasta according to package directions. When cooked, drain and add noodles back to the pot they were boiled in.
7. Add a few ladles of sauce to the linguine and to the other half of the sauce add back in the clams. Cook the clams in the sauce for a few minutes to warm back through.
8. To plate: Serve a portion of pasta into a bowl, then top with clam sauce. Serve with a crusty bread to mop up the juices as well as an empty bowl to place shells into.