Linguini and Clams (Linguini con Vongole)
1 Box fresh Linguini
18 Littleneck clams (smaller the better)
6-8 cloves of garlic (sliced paper-thin)
1 lemon plus zest
½ bunch parsley (finely chopped)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup white wine
1-2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
½ tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup toasted seasoned panko breadcrumbs
Start by scrubbing clams under cold running water. Scrub clams to remove all sand from the shells. Once clams are cleaned, place clams in cold water, enough to cover. Allow clams to purge for 30 minutes, drain water, add ice, and set aside until ready to use.
Preheat a large sauté pan or large Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add olive oil and sliced garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Do not allow garlic to burn. Add white wine.
Add clams, season with salt pepper, and crushed red pepper. Cover pot or pan, allow clams to steam for 4-5 minutes. If clams do not open toss them, it wasn’t meant to be….
Lower heat to low, carefully remove lid from pan allowing steam to escape. Using a slotted spoon, remove 8 clams from pot. Remove clam meat from shells, add the meat back in the pot and discard shells.
Squeeze lemon juice into pot, add chopped parsley to pot and mix well.
Cook pasta in heavily salted water. Fresh pasta will float after 3-4 minutes, which indicates it’s done.
Bring cooked, drained pasta into pan with clams, toss pasta and add ½ cup of pasta water to pan. Add lemon zest and toss again. Plate pasta by using a tong, grab a portion of pasta, hold it high over center of plate, rotate the plate counterclockwise while slowly dropping the pasta to the plate. Add 5 clams per plate and garnish with toasted bread crumbs and more parsley.