Linguine alle vongole

I’ve finally gotten around to making Linguine alle Vongole – Linguine with Clams. Not quite sure why, but this classic had been on my mind for ages, so when I recently scheduled a tasting night, it was time.

A tasting night is my excuse to cook up some new recipes and send out invites for peeps to come over and, well, eat… My guests supply the, uh… beverages, and I do the food. New friends are made, friendships are forged….and it’s a perfectly lovely and civilized way to spend an evening… around the table. Defo one of my faves!

When asked about foods any of the tasters did not eat, one replied that seafood was also not her list of faves. That made it the perfect excuse to serve it. With it flanked by other courses, those who did not love clams, would at least have something to eat….

The verdict? The taster actually ate four clams, for which she received due praise. And a small round of applause. It’s no big thing to eat something you believe you don’t care for, especially in front of others – most of whom she’d just met. Me…? Like most foods I think I don’t like.. the more I try them, the more I realize that yes, I could like them. For instances, olives. And gin. But that’s another story… What I did prefer, however, was what I did with what ended up left over.

Never able to throw out any type of food… I mean, why would I…. the next day, upon returning home at dinner time, I pulled out the cooking liquor/liquid, some leftover (still al dente) pasta and some clams, still in the shells. While the pasta slowly warmed to room temp, I put the cooking liquor in a sauce pan, and put it on high heat, to reduce. I then added some cream, let it cook down for a couple of minutes, and finally added the linguine and the clams, still in their shells. I stirred it all up, turned off the heat, put on the lid and let it sit. The verdict…? Like many things that have spent the night in the fridge to fully develop their taste…. absolutely, totally DELICIOUS!!

ps Of all the online recipes I found, I used the one from David Rocco, as posted on the fab Canadian Living site…  no surprise to most of you. I simply subbed in linguine for the spaghetti. You, of course, would use your fave of the two. That’s one of the many benefits of making it yourself~

pps Please excuse the lack of photos… due to my recent computer crash & subsequent continuing woes… I’ve lost some information. And food pics. Sigh.

Linguine alle Vongole

Next time I make this, I will make sure there is some leftover. The overnight in the fridge and the further reduction of the cooking liquor of shallots, garlic, wine & herbs made the sauce incredibly flavourful, while the addition of heavy cream made it silky and decadent. You could call it a hybrid of a very luxurious clam chowder and a pasta dish. Absolutely divine, by whatever name you call it~ Makes 2 large servings.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small hot pepper minced or 1 tsp. chili pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. salt
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 lb small clams
1 cup white wine 
6 oz  or 1/4 box, good quality linguine or spaghetti (I use Barilla)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley 

In Dutch oven or large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; fry garlic, hot pepper, salt and tomatoes for 1 minute. Add clams; cook, shaking pan, for 1 minute. Add wine and bring to boil; cover and steam until clams open, about 5 minutes. Discard any that do not open.Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until tender but firm, about 8 minutes, or according to the package directions.Reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid, drain and add to clam mixture. Add parsley; cook over medium heat, stirring, until pasta is coated, about 2 minutes. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid, if desired.

**I took the entire pot to the table and plated the servings there. While it seems like a little bit of showing off, it made for an interesting presentation, while my tasters asked what was in it and how it was put together. Plate individually in the kitchen for service, if you prefer.

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