When clams are on the menu, there’s nothing more iconic than linguine with white clam sauce. Redolent with garlic, white wine, red pepper flakes, and briny fresh clams, this classic checkered tablecloth staple never fails to satisfy even the most finicky eaters. Serve it with a chilled glass of whatever wine you used to build the sauce, and watch the food disappear.
12 ounces dried linguine
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
3 large garlic cloves, minced
½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup bottled clam juice
8 ounces shucked clams, liquid reserved, clams sorted for any shell fragments, coarsely chopped Available In Our Premium Subscription Box
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
Cook the Pasta
Cook the linguine in a large pot of salted boiling water until nearly al dente, 8 to 10 minutes or a few minutes less than stated on the package (the pasta will cook in the sauce later on). Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
Make the Sauce
In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium-high until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Do not let the garlic burn. Add the wine, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cook until the wine has nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the bottled clam juice and any reserved clam liquid and bring to a boil.
Add the Clams
Add the clams and butter and cook, stirring until the clams are cooked through and the sauce is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. You should have about 1¾ cups of clam sauce.
Finish and Serve
Add the pasta to the skillet, along with ¼ cup of the reserved pasta cooking liquid, and cook until the pasta is al dente and coated with the sauce, 2 to 3 minutes. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with parsley, and serve right away.
Pair it Up
Pour a chilled glass of the same wine used to make the dish. In this case, a crisp, dry white wine like pinot grigio is just the ticket.
Make it a Meal
A mixed green salad and crusty Italian bread complete this meal.
Spice it Up
Add a few tablespoons of meaty Calabrian ‘nduja or finely chopped dry chorizo to the skillet along with the garlic for a rosy-colored sauce.