1 pound dry linguine pasta
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves sliced thin
Pinch red pepper flakes
4 anchovy filets
1 teaspoon dry oregano
3 pounds cleaned shell-on littleneck clams (about 2 ½ dozen) *see note below recipe about alternatives to fresh
¾ cup white wine (we used chardonnay)
3 tablespoons fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped fine and divided
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided (Note: Adding Parmesan is not traditional, so feel free to leave it out.)
A little more extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over the finished dish
- Place a large pot of water on to boil and once boiling, lightly salt with kosher salt. Because salty anchovies are in this dish, try not to over salt the water. Once boiling add the linguine.
- While linguine is cooking, in a 12-14 inch skillet, heat the ¼ cup of olive oil over medium high heat and once hot, add the garlic and pepper flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes or just before the garlic starts to brown.
- Add the anchovies and cook one minute. The anchovies will disintegrate into the oil.
- Add the oregano and the shell on little neck clams along with the white wine.
- Cover and cook over medium to medium high until the shells start to open, about five minutes. Try and control the heat so that the mixture bubbles but not at a full boil.
- Have two bowls standing by. Soon as you see one shell open, remove lid, lift it out with tongs and over one bowl, remove clam, again with tongs. Any liquid from the shell goes into this bowl as well. Place shell in second bowl. Repeat as each shell opens. At some point, several will open at once so remove cover and just remove as many as you can handle at once. Discard shells.
- Once pasta has reached a point where it is almost done but still a little chewy, using tongs, remove pasta from water and place in the pan that you cooked the clams in.
- Add pasta and cook for a few minutes until the pasta is tender and has absorbed a little of the liquid. If you need a little more liquid, add a small amount of pasta water.
- As the pasta cooks, add half the chopped parsley and half the cheese. Finally finish by pouring in the bowl with the clams and juice. Give it one last stir and pour everything into a serving bowl.
- Drizzle some olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the remaining parsley and cheese.
*Note: If fresh littleneck clams are not available in your area, you could use fresh, frozen or canned chopped clams along with bottled clam juice. Look for fresh or frozen clams containers that equal approximately 2 cups of chopped clams and purchase one bottle of clam juice. During Step 4 above (when you are adding the shell-on clams), add the juice and cook uncovered for two minutes along with the wine, garlic, etc. Just prior to adding the cooked linguini into the sauce, add the chopped fresh or frozen clams and cook for one minute. Using chopped clams this way will ensure they don’t get tough and rubbery which will happen if you cook them too long so adding just before the pasta will ensure that they stay tender. One last note…Canned chopped clams will most likely be precooked in which case you don’t want to cook them further. Just make sure they go into the pan after the cooked pasta.