Monday, September 16, 2013

Simple Linguine and Clams

We're halfway through September!  And I am getting really tired of everyone asking me when school is starting or don't I have to go to school tomorrow.  I still have another week and a half until I begin my 6am treks to campus.  Yes, I have to leave at 6am because if I leave at 6:30am, I will hit a boatload of traffic.  And this is all for an 8am class.  If you do not know Los Angeles traffic, you're definitely not missing out!

With what vacation time I have left, I will be enjoying it to the fullest as well as prepping for school by purchasing those ridiculously expensive textbooks.  Golly, do you know how pricey textbooks are?  A recent article came out about the other cost of going to college: textbooks!  I definitely do not want to go down that rant.  I once wrote a post about a new bookcase that I received and shared a photo of my textbook collection up to that point.  It's been two years since that post and I've got more books to add to it.  Gosh, this paragraph is really depressing me.

Well, let's move onto something happy, then, shall we?  This simple linguine and clams recipe.  Over the past couple of years I have noticed that people get to my website by using the search words "burping clams."  I always found that quite fascinating--the fact that they would get to my website.  But, the act itself is very interesting, too.  Two years ago I wrote about my first linguine and clams-making experience.  You can read about it and about burping clams here

What I have realized is that although I shared photos of how to do everything--from burping the clams to finishing the dish--I never actually wrote out the recipe.  So, I set about doing that this evening.  I do not make linguine and clams often but if I do, I always enjoy the simplicity of this recipe I've come up with.  It's always a hit and the flavors are amazing.  I emphasize simplicity because I think that some people think it can be a really difficult dish to make.  

Errrrrrrrrrrr!  That was supposed to be the sound of screeching tires.  Wait!  Rewind.  You understand that by talking about burping clams, I'm talking about fresh clams here, correct?  I cannot fathom using chopped clams FROM A CAN in linguine and clams.  I understand that version is definitely simple but mine goes nowhere near there.  The flavor is just... ahhhh!  No comparison here, dude.  But you are going to encounter recipes for linguine and clams calling for that.  Just a warning. 

Back to my fabulous recipe.  It's simple, yes.  It's also freaking delicious.  And, as I was being incredibly observant of the cooking time, it is not a difficult dish to whip up!  You just need to make sure you have your fresh clams on hand.  I actually buy mine at the Asian market these days.  I have a love for Manila clams which I find to be the Goldilocks of clams: good size, meaty aka plump, and excellent in flavor.  

If you want to impress someone... or someones, this recipe will definitely do it.  I recommend buying Manila clams by the number versus by the pound because golly, well, here goes.  Buying them at the Asian market, they're a little cheaper than when I buy them from Santa Monica Seafood, one of my favorite seafood stores to purchase from.  However, the Manila clams are hanging out in water at the Asian market, as opposed to being on ice at Santa Monica Seafood.  So, I have a feeling I'm buying water weight... but I still think it comes out cheaper.  

Anyway, wherever you buy them, just try to aim for 12 clams a person and everyone will be happy!  Happy as a clam!  I am not sure where that phrase originates from...

Hester's Simple Linguine and Clams

Serving size: 4

  • 48 Manila clams, cleaned, rinsed, and drained
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups white wine (Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay both work well)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley + extra for garnish
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 pound linguine
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Clam burping = large bowl + cold water + red chili pepper flakes
1. Burp your clams a few times to get all the sand out.  When finally free of sand, rinse and let sit in a strainer or colander until ready to use.

2. Fill a large pot with water and add lots of salt.  *This is the only time salt will be used in this recipe.*  Get the water boiling and add the pasta.

3. Over medium-high heat, in a large sauté pan add a couple of swirls of olive oil and the garlic.  Cook until garlic becomes fragrant but not colored.  At this point, add the white wine and cook for a few minutes to cook out the alcohol.

4. Gently add the clams into one even layer.  Put a lid on and check every few minutes.  Once they are fully opened, they're cooked and can be removed.  If a clam does not open at all, throw it away.

5. When all the clams are removed, add the chopped parsley, oregano, red chili pepper flakes, and reduce the sauce for a few minutes.

6. In the meantime, pull your pasta early!  Remove your linguine a minute or two before al dente and transfer it straight into the sauce.  The pasta will absorb (and finish cooking) with the delicious wine and clam juice.  This is a beautiful thing.  While the pasta hangs with the liquids in the pan, remove the clam meat from the shells.  Leave a few attached for garnishing.

7. Add the clam meat back into the pan with the pasta and toss around.  Serve immediately with sprinkled parsley and a few clams in the shell.

Burping clams seems a bit bizarre but...
As you can see, it definitely helps get the sand out.
Don't be frightened!  The garlic does not overpower the clam flavor.  I promise.
Add the wine to the pan before the garlic turns golden brown.
It's a lot of clams but well worth it!
I always enjoy watching them go from closed to open!
Yum!  And the pasta is going to absorb this sauce!  Therefore, do not expect lots of sauce from this recipe.
Looking fabulous!


  1. I think my post just got deleted or never went through or something. But I wanted to thank you for posting up a simple recipe! It means a lot to me, especially with all the pictures, Hester! <3 Thank you. I am so happy you also posted the names of the wine, because it helps someone like me who has no knowledge of wines. If I get over my fear of this dish, I will definitely try again. Thank you for posting and sharing~

  2. Hester, your dish looks superb! I'm with you: fresh clams for the recipe or none at all. Be sure to enjoy the next week and a half before your daily drill changes.