Fall is the season for comfort food! And I know traditionally for many that means slow cooker chili or various casseroles, but for me, there is nothing more comforting than a serving (or two) of linguine with clam sauce.
I have spent a lot of time trying to perfect my linguine with clams (or Linguine con le Vongole) recipe by jotting down my favorite elements of others’ recipes I’ve tried until I came up with a combination that perfectly satisfied my desire for the amazing balance of brininess, herbs and a little bit of kick from chili pepper. My favorite part of this recipe is the little surprise of pancetta you find in your bite. It works in perfect harmony with the clams. I also use both whole littleneck clams in the shell and canned minced clams in this recipe. I love a whole lot of clams in the pasta, and as a New Englander, I really love my fresh shellfish, but the canned minced clams achieve the clam-normous goal and will save you a little bit of money.
I hope you guys give this one a try! You’ll be surprised on how easy it is to make.
Linguine with Clams and Pancetta (recipe serves 6)
1 lb linguine
Extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, 3 smashed and 3 minced
3 anchovy filets, chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
2 dozen littleneck clams (rinsed under cold running water)
3 slices of pancetta, chopped
2 6.5 oz cans minced clams
1 tsp dried oregano
1 handful flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
1. Bring large pot of salted water to boil and cook linguine until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, coat large skillet with olive oil and heat over medium.
3. Add the 3 smashed garlic cloves and cook until golden brown and aromatic.
4. Discard of garlic then add anchovies and red pepper flakes to oil and cook until anchovies melt.
5. Add the wine followed by the whole, in-a-shell littleneck clams. Cover, bring to boil and cook until clams open (approximately 10 minutes).
6. Remove the opened clams and place aside in bowl and strain liquid into measuring cup and place aside for later use (I prefer to strain the liquid in case any pieces of shell were left behind).
7. Add more olive oil to the same pan followed by the 3 minced cloves of garlic and cook until garlic is aromatic.
8. Add pancetta and fry until golden.
9. Add both cans of minced clams (plus their juices), oregano and reserved clam liquid and bring to a boil then reduce to simmer allowing liquid to reduce by half, then add cooked linguine and allow it to absorb juices (about 2 minutes).
10. Serve with whole littlenecks and parsley on top.