Clam Sauce ExtraordinairePosted: July 9, 2011
I’ve made Linguine & Clam Sauce for a long time. Originally it was a very rich & creamy sauce which included, believe it or not, sour cream, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup along with many other things! My clam sauce has evolved and here’s the sauce I’ve made for a decade or more. It’s a recipe I’ve made for and shared with family & friends; it’s great for dinner parties! 😀 It’s such a favorite that peeps request it when they come to visit or if I’m home visiting, “Will you make your Linguine & Clam Sauce?” How can you resist such a request? 😉
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 or more large cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 package sliced mushrooms; regular or Baby Bella
3-4 scallions, chopped
juice from half a lemon
1 bottle Clam Juice
3 – 6.5 oz. cans chopped clams (Gorton’s are best; Snow’s a close second)
Hot Red Pepper flakes
4 forkfuls of capers
4 forkfuls of green peppercorns (in brine)
1/2 to 1 doz Fresh Clams (optional)
Linguine or Pasta of choice
Generously coat bottom of a 2 qt or larger saucepan with EVOO, mince garlic into pan and cook over low-medium heat for a couple of minutes, then stir in mushrooms. Sauté olive oil, garlic & mushrooms for a couple of mins and then add juice of half a lemon. Wash and trim scallions; slice into mixture. Stir and sauté for a couple of mins then pour some white wine in (to taste; probably 1/4 cup or less). Stir and let simmer for a few minutes. Add in bottle of clam juice. Wipe top of cans of chopped clams, open with can opener and using lid, keep all clams in can while straining liquid into pot. I love spices, so I never measure them. Add at least 10 good dashes each of dried Parsley, dried Thyme and dried Italian Seasoning into pot. Stir; will look pretty green from the spices. Sprinkle hot red pepper flakes to taste. Add in capers & green peppercorns. Since both are in brine, I use a dessert fork to spoon out of bottle; I use 4 forkfuls; try it with 3 the first time you make it. Stir; once this is a rolling simmer turn down so that it’s just a low simmer.
Put water on for pasta. I’ve generally used 1 lb. linguine, which I break in half before adding to boiling water (can still use fork & twirl on spoon but the sauce won’t go flying when the strands aren’t so long). Recently I’ve transitioned to Barilla Plus pasta, which is higher in protein, but they don’t make a linguine. So I use whatever pasta I’m in the mood for; can also use a specialty linguine like lemon pepper which would complement the sauce nicely. Cook pasta. Keep sauce on low simmer to reduce down. When pasta is done; turn heat off sauce and drain pasta into colander. While pasta is draining, add the clams into the sauce. The sauce will be very hot and will heat the clams through without overcooking (making rubbery). This sauce is great without fresh clams, but if you want to use fresh clams to have some adorn each plate or pasta bowl, then rinse them and have soaking in cold water when you put pasta water on to boil. Add them to simmering sauce 2-3 mins before pasta will be done. When pasta is done, turn heat off sauce (clams should be open), add in canned clams and stir. Spoon pasta onto individual plate / bowl, ladle sauce over it. If entertaining, serve with salad (homemade Caesar Salad is good), a nice bread, your favorite white wine and have grated Parmesan cheese on table as garnish. Note: This sauce is too spicy for kids, but they love pasta with butter and cheese, so as long as you have enough pasta, it’s all good.