As most of you know I am a pasta lover, I mean who isn’t?? One of my all time favorite pasta dishes to make is linguini with clams, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve made this dish. It is one of those pastas that is so satisfying, yet doesn’t leave you feeling like you need to unbutton your pants when you finish (which most pasta dishes make me do). I do my linguini with clams in a white wine lemon sauce, which I add pancetta too. The pancetta gives this dish such a unique smokey flavor and the touch of heavy cream at the end makes this sauce so velvety… it is truly a great recipe. I serve my pasta with a toasted baguette; this is a must. The warm bread soaks up all the garlicky broth, which I have to say might be the best bite of the whole dish. This recipe is so fast and easy to prepare, I highly recommend it as a week night staple in most households.
1 lb linguini
2-3 tablespoons EVOO
4 oz. pancetta, cut into small cubes
2 large shallots, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like it
1 1/2 to 2 cups of a dry white wine, I used Pinot Grigio
1/2 cup chicken broth, you can also just use water
45 little neck clams
2 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 medium baguette
parmesan cheese, optional
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped flat leaf parsley, optional
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a good handful of salt, it should taste like the sea. This is where the pasta gets all of its flavor, so don’t forget to season your water! Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the package, it usually takes around 8 to 12 minutes.
Cut the baguette into crostini pieces and lay on a baking sheet. Brush the bread with EVOO and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Toast the bread for 8 to 10 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it though because it tends to burn easily (I’ve learned from past experiences!). Once done set aside to cool.
While cooking the pasta, heat a large dutch oven or pot with the EVOO on medium to high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until mostly crispy. Then add your shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes and allow to soften, around 5 to 7 minutes. Once they are all cooked, deglaze the pan with the wine. Use a wooden spoon to get all those brown bits off the bottom of the pan, this is where a lot of flavor comes from. Once the wine has evaporated some, add in your chicken broth (or water) and then the clams. (If any of the clams are open before you put them in do NOT use them- they are dead). Put the lid on the pot and let the clams cook in the broth, shaking the pot occasionally. This usually takes 6 to 8 minutes.You will know the clams are cooked and ready when they have all opened up. If a clam does not open, throw it out! At this point you can add the lemon juice, heavy cream, and butter. Season the broth to your liking, it should be very flavorful! Toss in the pasta and get everything all combined. Serve in bowls immediately with the toasted baguette and top with parmesan cheese. Hope you enjoy!