Linguine alle vongole

There’s something about citrus and seafood that really puts me over the moon. Now, add those to my favorite carb, pasta, and I’ve fallen in love.

Growing up, my biggest culinary influences were Emeril Lagasse and my nonna. Needless to say, Italian cuisine was my foundation for learning how to cook. While I take a lot pride in Italian cooking, I do believe there is plenty of room for creativity outside of classical and traditional techniques and ingredients. This means while I may scoff at putting sugar in red sauce, I’m totally into trying some non-Italian chili to spice things up.

Linguine alle vongole is one of those things that I love making because fresh pasta is probably the most therapeutic activity for me in the kitchen and it’s such an ode to my heritage of southern Italian roots (pairing seafood with citrus). This is MY version - not your typical dish but equally delicious.

fresh pasta

Pasta:

  • 2 cups of organic unbleached AP (all-purpose) flour (I use Bob Red Mill’s)

  • 1 TBSP of organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 3 farmer’s market large eggs (the deeper orange yolks you typically get from the market make such a pretty color pasta)

  • Salt (for the pasta water only)

Clams & Sauce:

  • 5 lb bag of little neck clams (I source mine from a local fish market, the product is typically fresher than the grocery store)

  • 4 TBSPs butter

  • Olive oil, enough to the coat the pan

  • 6 large cloves of grated/minced garlic

  • 1 medium shallots, brunoise

  • 1 cup of white wine

    • side note: I don’t really get this idea of “cooking wine,” because typically people buy cheap, non-drinkable wine for this and to that I say, “if you wouldn’t drink it, why would you want to eat it?”

  • 1-2 TBSPs of sambal (Calabrian chilis are typically used but I really like how this paste becomes a part of the sauce)

  • 2 TBSPs of chives

  • 2 TBSPs of Italian flat parsley

  • 2 TSPs of lemon basil (this is a strong herb, if you add enough you don’t even need lemon)

    Chopped almonds, for garnish

  • Grated lemon zest, for garnish

Process:

Read below to make the dish and watch the video to follow along. Filmed and edited by Langston Fields.

  1. Make your pasta dough - watching the video is very helpful - start by putting the flour in a large mixing bowl and creating a divot in the middle

  2. Add the olive oil and eggs in the divot and start whisking the wet ingredients with a fork

  3. Once smooth, start whisking in the flour little by little

  4. Once the dough starts giving the fork a little resistance, go in with your hands, incorporating the flour until the dough is more solid than messy

  5. Take the dough and any remaining flour and start kneading on a flat surface, this can take 5-10 minutes depending on how fast you work

  6. You’ll want to push on the dough and pull it back into a ball, when you think it’s ready, push lightly on the dough and if it springs back, it’s ready (some cracks are totally fine at this stage)

  7. Shape the dough into a disc about 1-2 inches thick, wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest for a minimum of 30 minutes in the fridge (try not to let it rest longer than an hour, it can dry-out, oxidize etc. if left for too long)

  8. Roll out the dough and cut into linguine

  9. Start the sauce by adding 1 TBSP of butter and olive oil to the pan on medium heat

  10. Add garlic and shallots and sweat (cook for a few minutes until translucent and fragrant)

  11. Add the sambal and white wine and get the mixture to a simmer on medium-high heat

  12. Add in the clams and cover - cook for 6 minutes - then with the lid on, give it a shake before opening

  13. Throw-out any clams that might still be shut/dead (if there are a lot, keep cooking for another 2 minutes, covered, and check again - they may just be giving you a hard time)

  14. At this time, add your fresh pasta to a pot of seasoned (salted) boiling water and cook no longer than 3 minutes

  15. Remove clams from the pan and finish the sauce, whisk in the 3 TBSPs of butter to create a creamier, glossier texture

  16. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce along with 1/2 - 1 cup of pasta water let this cook until the sauce coats the pasta, raise the heat to help reduce the sauce

  17. Add the herbs and the clams to the pan and top with the chopped almonds, a little more herbs, lemon zest (optional) and cracked pepper (optional)

Saluti.