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Linguine and clams in a delicious garlic white wine sauce and topped with buttery citrus breadcrumbs. This linguine and clams recipe is easy to make, with minimal ingredients and maximum flavor!
- I use littleneck clams this recipe, they are small, tender, and steam well. When buying clams, do a simple ‘tap’ test. Gently tap them together, they should full close their shells, if they don’t they could be dead or dying and you should discard. Also discard any that are broken open.
- Soak for 30 minutes and as they drink up the fresh water, they ‘spit’ the sand out. Place the clams in a colander and then place that in a bigger bowl filled with cold water. The colander allows the sand to fall to the bottom of the bowl, so the clams don’t drink it back up.
- Since clams live on the ocean floor, makes sense that they have a bunch of sand inside. You don’t want to ruin a dish by slurping up clams with a side of sand. See above how much sand came out.
- Once you have soaked the clams, dump the sand water and scrub each clam to remove any sand or grit from the shell. Now they are ready to be cooked.
For this recipe I use minced garlic and thinly sliced garlic. The quickest/easiest way to thinly slice garlic is with a mandoline. Always use the guard or wear a cut resistant glove when using a mandoline.
- Cut up ciabatta or sourdough into cubes and place in a food processor
- Pulse until breadcrumb consistency is achieved
- In the skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter and once foaming, add the breadcrumbs, minced garlic
- Toast about 5 minutes till golden brown. Add lemon zest, mix, and remove from skillet
- Wipe your dutch oven out to remove leftover breadcrumbs. Add oil, anchovies, garlic, shallot, and red pepper flakes.
- The anchovies will disintegrate into the oil and give the base an extra depth of flavor, so don’t skip!
- After sautéing the aromatics, add in the white wine. Allow it to reduce by half.
- Once the wine has reduced, add in lemon juice, the clams and cover to steam.
Clam steaming tips
- Steam the clams for 5-7 minutes, once they pop open, remove and place them in a bowl with tented foil.
- You don’t want to overcook clams, because they become tough and rubbery.
- After the 5-7 minutes, if the clams haven’t open give the pan a shake or gently tap on the clams, sometimes they need some movement to pop open.
- Some clams will not open as fully as others and those are still ok to eat, use a knife to open them when eating.
- If a clam has a bad smell, that is a sign it needs to be tossed.
- If the clam doesn’t open after a few more minutes of steaming, toss it.
Cook linguine to al dente, according to package instruction. Important: before draining, make sure to reserve a cup of pasta water. Once all your clams are opened and set aside, add in: butter and parsley. Mix together till the butter is melted, then add in the linguine.
Using tongs, carefully toss the linguine in the clam sauce to coat. Use the pasta water and add a few splashes at a time till the sauce is silky. Nestle the clams back into the pasta and top with the breadcrumbs, fresh parsley, and additional lemon zest.
Serve with lemon wedges and a bowl to discard shells into. This dish is best enjoyed fresh and right away. Clams cool quickly.
If you need to store leftovers, do so in the refrigerator and carefully reheat in the microwave. Do not freeze, will alter taste and consistency of clam.
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Linguine and Clams
- 2 pounds littleneck clams (see note)
- 2 cups cubed ciabatta or sourdough bread
- 4 tablespoons butter (divided)
- 12 garlic cloves (2 minced, 10 thinly sliced on mandoline)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon shallot (minced)
- 4 anchovy filets
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoon lemon zest (divided, plus more for serving)
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped, divided)
- 12 ounces linguine
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
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- Place the clams in a colander and then place that in a bigger bowl filled with cold water. Soak for 30 minutes and as they drink up the fresh water, they ‘spit’ the sand out. The colander allows the sand to fall to the bottom of the bowl, so the clams don’t drink it back up. Once you have soaked the clams, dump the sand water and scrub each clam to remove any sand or grit from the shell.
- Cut up ciabatta or sourdough into cubes and place in a food processor. Pulse until breadcrumb consistency is achieved. In a dutch oven or high walled skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter in the pan, once melted, add in the breadcrumbs, and minced garlic.
- Toast about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add 1 tbsp lemon zest, mix, and remove from skillet.
Linguine and Clams
- In a large pot, cook linguine al dente according to package instruction. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water prior to draining.
- Wipe out the dutch oven you prepared the breadcrumbs in. Over medium heat, add 3 tbsp olive oil, anchovies, shallot, thinly sliced garlic, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and black pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes, anchovies will dissolve.
- Add in the white wine and allow it to reduce by half, about 3-4 minutes. Once reduced add in the lemon juice.
- Add the clams and cover to allow them to steam 5-7 minutes. Once they pop open, remove and place them in a bowl with tented foil. If the clams haven’t open yet, give the pan a shake or gently tap on the clams. Sometimes they need some movement to pop open.
- Once all clams are removed, add in 2 tbsp butter, 3 tbsp parsley and mix together till butter is melted. Add in the al dente linguine.
- Using tongs, carefully toss the linguine in the sauce to coat. Use the pasta water and add a few splashes at a time till the sauce is silky.
- Nestle the clams back into the pasta and top with the breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp fresh parsley, and 1 tbsp lemon zest. Enjoy!