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Monday: Linguini with White Clam Sauce

Pssst...it's my birthday and this is exactly what I want for dinner. It is reminiscent of my Mom's dinner table and the salty shores of Connecticut - yum!
Serves: 4     Prep: 10     Cooking: 35
 

Ingredients

For the Pasta and Clams
2 tablespoons sea salt
12 ozs spaghetti
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 pounds small clams, such as Manila, rinsed and scrubbed
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons fresh flat leafed Italian parsley, coarsely choppedFor the Garlic Bread
1 small baguette, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons Italian dried herb seasoning

Instructions

1
In a large pot, bring water and sea salt to a boil.
2
In a small bowl, prepare the garlic spread by combining butter, garlic and herbs. Spread evenly on inside of baguette. Set aside.
3
While waiting for water to boil, chop onion, garlic and parsley.
4
Add pasta to pot and cook 2 minutes less than package instructions for al dente – use a timer.
5
While pasta cooks, heat oil over medium in a Dutch oven or 5-quart heavy pot with a lid. Add onion, garlic, and red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
6
Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water. Set aside.
7
Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and drain pasta. Set aside.
8
To the onion mixture, add wine, and bring to a boil; cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
9
Add clams; cover, and simmer, jostling the pot occasionally, until clams open wide, 3 to 5 minutes. (Important: discard any that haven’t opened after 5 minutes.)
10
Meanwhile, place garlic bread under the broiler for 3-5 minutes – watch them!
11
When clams have opened, add pasta to clam mixture in pot; continue to cook about 2 minutes.
12
Remove from heat, and stir in butter and parsley. Add about half of reserved pasta water to thin sauce – more if necessary.
13
Taste a piece of pasta - season with salt if necessary.
14
To serve, divide among 4 plates placing clams, in their shells, atop the pasta. Serve garlic bread alongside.
15
Remember a bowl for the shells on the table.