Linguini with Fresh Clams


      Per person: 4 oz fresh linguini     6-8 littleneck clams     2 T. olive oil    1 clove garlic 
1/2 cup white wine (or clam juice)   2
tsp. each chopped fresh oregano, basil and parsley                                                        pinch of hot red pepper (opt.)


Cook pasta in 6 quarts salted boiling water till barely done (3-4 min.). While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add thinly sliced garlic and lightly sauté. Pour in wine (or clam juice), raise heat and bring to boil. Put in clams and cover pan. Steam clams only until they open (approx. 1-2 min.). Discard any that do not open. Quickly remove pan from heat, add herbs and red pepper (if used). Remove top shell (opt.). Drain pasta and toss in the sauce to coat. (No cheese, please.)


Variations

1.  Red clam sauce: Add per serving one peeled, seeded, and chopped Roma tomato when you add the wine.

2.  Mussel sauce: Use small mussels instead of clams. Check after 15-20 sec. to see if they are open.

3.  Canned clams: Use 3-4 oz dried pasta per person, and whole baby clams (preferred) or chopped clams. Instead of wine, drain the clam juice into the sautéed garlic and olive oil. Simmer to reduce by half. Replace fresh oregano and basil with dried, reduce amount to 1/2 tsp. each.  Give it a brisk rub between your hands as you add it to the pan. Add the clams at the last minute, just long enough to heat through. Drain pasta, add to the sauce and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.   Never use dried parsley!  (A small can makes enough sauce for one or two servings.)

4.  Red clam sauce:  Add   2-3 T. canned crushed Italian tomatoes when you add the clam juice.

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