Linguine with Clam Sauce
Stephen Davis Phillips
Provided by: Marco Canora
- FOR THE CLAMS:
- 3 dozen little neck clams
- 1 tablespoon corn meal
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 pepperoncini
- 1 cup dry white wine
- FOR THE SAUCE AND PASTA:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 1/4 cup minced celery
- 1/4 cup minced fennel
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 peperoncini, crumbled or minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Scicillian)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound linguine
- 1/4 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
- Fresh lemon juice, to taste
- Place clams and cornmeal in a sealable container. Add water to cover, place lid on container, and soak, refrigerated, for at least one hour and up to overnight.
- Heat a skim of oil (about 2 tablespoons) in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, parsley and pepperoncini and cook, stirring frequently until the garlic softens, about 3 minutes.
- Lift the clams out of the soaking liquid and into the pot (the sand they release will have settled to the bottom of the bowl -- be sure to leave it there). Add the wine, raise the heat to high, cover the pot and cook until the clams open, about 7 minutes.
- Transfer the clams to a bowl. Allow them to cool then remove them from their shells; reserve the juice. Chop the clams. Strain the juice through a very fine sieve or a coffee filter and reserve.
- Start the soffritto (sauce). Heat ½ cup of oil over medium-high heat in a high-sided skillet large enough to hold the cooked pasta. Add the onion, celery and fennel and fry, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften, about 7 minutes.
- Add the garlic then the peperoncini and oregano. Fry, stirring frequently, until the garlic softens, about 3 minutes. (The soffritto can be prepared in advance and reheated.)
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is not quite al dente -- flexible but not done.
- Add the clams and their broth to the soffritto and reduce the heat to medium-low. Season lightly with salt and pepper and bring the sauce to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
- Lift the pasta out of the cooking water and put it into the clam sauce. Raise the heat to high and cook the pasta in the sauce, stirring frequently, until the linguine absorbs much of the sauce, and is nicely al dente, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the parsley and re-adjust the seasoning with salt to taste and lots of black pepper. Serve topped with additional olive oil if desired.