This is a quick and incredibly tasty midweek dinner if you happen to spot some fresh clams at the market on the way home (or, if you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean, harvest them yourself out of the mudflats with your toes, which we used to do many times on the east coast). This is a pretty standard recipe that many people have wonderful variants on, but this one adds a little bit of cream at the end of give the sauce a bit more depth – if that’s not your taste, just leave that step out.
You’ll need 1/2 lb linguine pasta, 1 lb of Manila clams (these are the smaller variety and sit well with the pasta in serving bowls), 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic, a small shallot – also finely chopped, a small handful of fresh parsley – coarsely chopped, olive oil, unsalted butter, white wine, heavy cream, crushed red pepper, lemon juice, and salt & pepper for seasoning.
First, get some salted water boiling to cook the linguine – you’re going to cook this to 1 minute less than what the package suggests. if it says 9-11 mins, cook it 10 mins, etc. You get it.
In a broad skillet, heat 1 Tbsp butter and 3 Tbsp olive oil – then add the finely chopped garlic and shallots. Quickly toss the garlic and shallot in the heated oil and melted butter for until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then add the clams and about 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper. Toss the clams quickly with the garlic/shallot mixture over medium heat until completely covered – about 2 mins.
Then add 1/2 to 3/4 cup white wine and 1 Tbsp of chopped parsley and allow to cook down over medium-high heat for about 2-3 mins letting the wine reduce slightly. Add 2 Tbsp of heavy cream – stir/toss well and let this cook down until all of the clams are open and the wine has reduced by at least 2/3. About another 3-5 mins more.
Your linguine should just about done around this time – drain the pasta well and add it along with 1 tsp lemon juice and another handful of chopped, fresh parsley to the pan with the clams. Reduce the heat to low and gently toss the entire mixture together for about a minute. If you feel like your sauce is too dry, save some of the pasta water and add it to the clam mixture after you add the pasta to the pan.
Transfer to a large wooden serving bowl and serve with crusty bread and a separate bowl for the shells.