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Linguini with Clam Sauce – Basque-Style

Linguini with Clam Sauce - Basque-Style. A fusion of a classic Italian recipe for Linguini with clam sauce with added French and Spanish influences from the Basque region of France. So delicious!

My husband Jack has been experimenting quite a bit in the kitchen lately! (That is GREAT news for me AND you – our wonderful readers!) Developing new recipes is his favorite creative outlet – and he gets so excited when his culinary experiments turn into a fantastic new dish!

Today’s recipe for Linguini with Clam Sauce – Basque-Style is one of his recent successes – a delicious fusion of Italian, French and Spanish flavors that are truly wonderful combined in this easy dish!

We’ve taken a traditional Italian recipe – linguini with clam sauce – but added Basque-style flavor. Basque is a region in France that borders Spain – so foods from that area are actually already a fusion of two cuisines! The original Basque dish that inspired this recipe uses calamari as the seafood, a local sea salt called Fleur De Sel, and a local pepper called Espelette that grows only in that region.

Linguini with Clam Sauce - Basque-Style. A fusion of a classic Italian recipe for Linguini with clam sauce with added French and Spanish influences from the Basque region of France. So delicious!

Our version of this dish uses more commonly found ingredients – chopped clams, kosher salt and a medium to mild pepper – and the result is a cross between a traditional red clam sauce served over linguini, and the Basque style of cooking which uses onions, peppers and fresh tomatoes as the sauce.

Jack took quite a lot of creative freedom with this dish – and we’re both thrilled with the very delicious results!! (So much so, Jack is now working on Basque-style clam chowder since he ate most of the leftover sauce in a bowl after we took our photos for this post.) Enjoy!

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Linguini with Clam Sauce – Basque-Style

Linguini with Clam Sauce – Basque-Style - A Family Feast

A few notes: The traditional salt used in this dish is a sea salt called Fleur de Sel, however Kosher salt will work as a substitute. This dish is quick to prepare so the linguini should be cooking at the same time that you prepare the sauce. The exact amount of clams and juice in a container differs from brand to brand. You will need to separate the juice from the clams as the juice gets used early in the sauce and the clams at the end. The additional bottle of clam juice is to get the sauce to the correct consistency.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups ½ inch diced green bell pepper
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded, stemmed and diced, or serrano if you like it hotter
  • 1 cup ½ inch diced onion
  • 1 cup ½ diced leeks, white part only cleaned of all sand
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup red wine, such as merlot
  • 3 cups diced plum tomatoes seeded, about 5-6 large tomatoes
  • 2 pounds (or 1 quart depending on how they are sold) chopped clams in their juice, clams and juice separated, see note above
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt, see note above
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 8-ounce bottle clam juice, as needed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley plus more for garnish
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan plus more for garnish
  • 1 pound dry linguini

Instructions

  1. Start to heat a large pot of salted water on the stove. Have all sauce ingredients prepared in advance.
  2. Add the linguini to the salted boiling water and cook per package directions to slightly under-cooked.
  3. While linguini is cooking, in a large skillet over medium high, heat olive oil and add both peppers, onions and leeks and cook for three minutes. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.
  4. Turn to high and add wine. Cook to reduce the wine slightly, lower heat to medium high and add tomatoes, the juice from the chopped clams, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, paprika and the tomato paste. Stir and simmer five minutes. If the consistency is too thick, add some or all of the bottle clam juice. The mixture should be very loose but not watery. The pasta will absorb some of the liquid on the next step.
  5. Add clams and heat just until the sauce is up to temperature then add in cooked drained linguini. (save a little pasta water in case you need to thin down further). Cook just enough so that the pasta is al dente but be careful not to overcook the clams.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve with additional parsley and cheese over each portion.

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  1. 2 pounds of canned clams??? or 2 pounds clams in the shell? 2 lb. canned is a lot for 1 lb pasta.
    How much Parmesan did you use? – not a critical ingredient but the recipe should reflect it..
    Thanks for all the great work you guys have done..
    Mitch

    • Thanks so much for your questions Mitch! Jack has updated the recipe – hopefully clarifying the amounts you asked about! Please let us know if you have any other questions and sorry for the confusion! Martha