By Jacqueline Church
In keeping with the Southern Italian tradition, I added chopped tomatoes and a little wine to Rick Moonen’s recipe from his excellent Fish Without a Doubt. San Marzano are traditional; Muir Glen Organics are terrific, too.
1 cup water
1/2 cup white wine or vermouth
24 topneck or 48 littleneck clams, scrubbed
1/3 cup chopped garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
3/4 pound dried linguine
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Bring 1 cup of water to boil in a large pot. Add scrubbed clams and wine. Cover and steam till clams open.
Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. When the clams are cool enough to handle, pour the clams into the strainer, catching the broth in the bowl below. Remove the clams from their shells (work over the strainer so the juice is captured) and transfer to a cutting board.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for pasta.
Chop the clams and set aside. In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil and garlic over low heat for 10 minutes, until garlic is soft but has not yet browned.
Add crushed red pepper, oregano and reserved clam juice. Increase heat and reduce by half. Add crushed tomatoes. Remove from heat and keep warm.
After the pasta water comes to a boil, add linguine, return water to boil and cook for 2 minutes less than the package instructs. Drain and return to pot over medium heat. Toss chopped clams and sauce with pasta and heat for 2 minutes. Toss with parsley and serve.
Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as a part of a larger meal