Pasta is high on the list of soul-satisfying suppers, and this old-world classic is among the most popular of the bunch. Here briny fresh clams swim in a garlicky wine sauce, with nary a tomato in sight. It’s a beautiful choice for a special Mother’s Day dinner; pair with a simple green salad, crusty bread, and a glass of her favorite wine.
Linguine alle Vongole
3 dozen littleneck clams (about 3 lb./1.5 kg)
1 lb. (500 g) linguine
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) capers, drained
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) dry white wine
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup (1 oz./30 g) fresh bread crumbs, toasted
Scrub the clams well under cold running water. Place in a large bowl, add salted cold water to cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain the clams and rinse well.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the linguine and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (tender but still slightly firm to the bite), according to the package instructions.
While the linguine is cooking, in a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon zest and capers until the garlic softens and is fragrant but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the clams and wine and cover. Increase the heat to high and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the clams have opened, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard any unopened clams. Add the butter and swirl the saucepan until the butter melts into the cooking liquid.
Drain the linguine and return it to its cooking pot. Pour the clams and sauce over the linguine and mix gently. Transfer to a serving platter or individual pasta bowls, dividing the clams evenly. Sprinkle with the parsley and bread crumbs and serve at once. Serves 4.