While pasta with clam sauce is traditionally part of Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has been adopted throughout all of Italy. It has become the standard fare of most Italians, especially those living along the coastal areas. There is a white version and a red version. The white version is made with white wine and the red version has more of a tomato base. Sicilians like to add cherry tomatoes in their version of this popular dish.
Italians use fresh clams when making pasta alle vongole (clams). In addition to live clams, I add canned clams to give more flavor to the dish. In my opinion, the more clams the better. Rosemary grows rampant in my backyard, and I find that it adds a little pizazz to seafood. That goes into my clam sauce as well.
LINGUINE WITH WHITE CLAM SAUCE AND TOMATOES
(Linguine alle Vongole)
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4 servings.
1 pound dried Linguine pasta
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1(6.5) ounce can minced clams
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, divided
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 dozen Manila or Little Neck clams, scrubbed
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1. COOK THE PASTA: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and pasta. Cook pasta to al dente, about 8 minutes.
2. MAKE THE CLAM SAUCE: Meanwhile, heat remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil and butter in a large sautè pan, over medium heat. Add garlic and cook about 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Stir in the chopped clams, wine, 4 tablespoons parsley, rosemary, and red pepper flakes if using. Add the Manila clams. Cover and simmer for 6 minutes, until most of the clams are open. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Remove from heat and allow the pan to sit covered for an additional minute or two, until the remaining clams open. Discard any unopened clams.
Drain pasta in a colander, and place into the sautè pan with clam sauce. Toss gently to combine. Place into serving bowls and garnish with remaining parsley. Serve immediately.