Littleneck Clams and Linguine

(Serves 4–5 dinner portions)

6 dozen littleneck clams
2½ cups water

4 Tbsp. olive oil
4 shallots, peeled and sliced thin
2 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
2 tsp. thyme, chopped
¼ tsp. red chili flakes
½ bottle of dry white wine
2½ cups clam juices, strained

1 Tbsp. lemon juice
cracked black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
3 Tbsp. Italian parsley, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. good quality olive oil
(Optional ingredients: chopped fresh cilantro, chopped
fresh oregano, baby arugula, roasted cherry tomatoes,
diced fennel)
12 ounces good quality linguine

Place the clams in a bowl of cold water and rinse and scrub them. If the clams feel gritty, repeat the process to remove all the sand, making sure to change the water in the bowl.

Place the clams in a medium stockpot with the water. Cover tightly and place on a high flame. After about 2 minutes of steaming, the clams should open. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the clams to a bowl or sheet pan. Discard any clams that do not open. Chill the clams in the refrigerator and pour the cooking broth through a sieve lined with a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Reserve the broth.

Remove the clams from their shells (save some for garnish if you like) and roughly chop the clams into a ½-inch dice and set aside.

Fill a stockpot 2/3 full with water and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Heat a large sauté pan on medium-high. Add the olive oil and let heat. Add the shallots and cook for 2–3 minutes, until they are soft and translucent. Add the garlic, chopped thyme and chili flakes and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the white wine. Let the wine reduce to half of its volume. Add the strained clam juices (about 2½ cups) and bring the sauce back to a boil. Let this cook for 4 minutes, reducing the volume by half. Your sauté pan should have about 1 inch of broth in the pan. Reduce the heat to low and add the chopped clams, lemon juice and plenty of cracked black pepper. Add the butter and stir to combine. Add the linguine and toss to coat with the chopped parsley. Taste the pasta and add salt if necessary. The pasta will absorb the broth as it sits. Drizzle with more olive oil and serve.