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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Linguini w/ Clams in Buttery Garlic White Sauce

This is what I consider comfort food.  Buttery, garlic-y pasta swirled in with clams and sprinkled with bacon and fresh chopped parsley. Easy and quick.  Especially, if you can find a can of clams you like, like I have.. all ingredients are pantry and this dish can be ready to eat in as much time as it takes for the linguini to cook.  

Clams with linguini served with buttered Trader Joe's Garlic Naan

Recipe notes.. 
You can steam fresh clams for this recipe, but as for a pantry meal.. canned clams work fine here.  I have found and love Trader Joe's Maine little neck whole clams.  One can is enough for one meal.  They are whole, I don't chop them but feel free if you'd like. 

If you don't have a shallot, a small onion minced fine will work ok.  But don't use to much and let it caramelize before adding the garlic.

Bacon is not necessary, but if I have it.. it's a great flavor with the clams and garlic. The best choice for using bacon here is to try and always have little leftover bacon that is cooked and ready in your fridge for when you need it at a moments notice.  like this meal.  However, If your bacon is uncooked,  cooking up some is easy enough.  Here are 2 options.. 1) Cook the bacon in the pan that you will finish the rest of the dish in.  OR  2) a lighter (healthier.. less fat) option is to cook the bacon on rack on a baking sheet  pan in a 425º oven, til crispy.   

Anchovy Paste.  Optional.  Scared? don't be. It melts into the sauce and imparts a delicious depth of flavor that you cannot put your finger on. It does not taste fishy. Try it. If you have anchovy fillets.. this will work fine, too.  Add 4-5 and cook till they literally are unrecognizable and melt into the sauce. Again, optional.. it will still be delish without.

I also usually top with a sprinkle of chopped fresh tomato.  Seasoned with S+P.

White wine is whatever you have open.  I like a dry Chardonnay if I have my choice.  A little for the pot and a little for the chef! If you want to omit the wine, add a little chicken broth.. or forego altogether.. it will work fine

Pasta.. linguini works best for me here.. but use whatever long strand you like. Angel hair or spaghetti is fine too. Cook til ALMOST al denté (about 2 min. under package directions) then adding to clam sauce and let it finish cooking in the sauce.  It will get tender and also absorb some of the sauce. THIS is what makes really good pasta dishes, no matter what sauce you make. That step alone. 

Linguini with Clams in Garlic White Sauce

4 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled (optional)
1lb. linguini, spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1 T. Butter

1/4 c. olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1-2 t. anchovy paste (optional)
1/4 c. white wine
1 can of Trader Joe's Maine little neck whole clams, in their liquor (don't discard juice!)
fresh chopped parsley
1 small tomato, diced (optional) seasoned with S+P

Cook pasta al denté, or according to directions & less 2 minutes, in a large pot of heavily salted water. 

Meanwhile, Heat butter and olive oil in large saute pan over med high heat.  

Add chopped shallot, saute til translucent.  

Add garlic, pepper and anchovy paste, reduce heat to medium low, cooking gently til 
anchovy's disappear and garlic is starting to brown.  

Add wine and let simmer about a minute.  

Add clams and all the liquor in the can.  

Scoop pasta right into the pot.  Swirl around and let cook for a minute or two, til tender.  

Add parsley and check for seasoning. S+P if necessary. 

Sprinkle with a bit of the crumbled bacon and seasoned tomato.

Lastly.. give each dish a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil, to finish. Enjoy!

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