This dish is a staple at the Pardo family’s Christmas Eve (and many other times throughout the year). Francesca’s Grandmother used littleneck clams, which are less than 2 inches in diameter. They are more tender. —Francescap
What You'll Need
little neck clams, scrubbed
garlic cloves, minced
dried chili pepper (small), crumbled or pinch of red pepper flakes
fresh clam juice, strained
dry white wine
flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped, plus whole leaves for garnish
freshly ground black pepper
Place the clams in a sink filled with cold water. Scrub the shells well with a coarse brush to remove any sand. Drain the water and refill the sink with clean water to soak the clams, repeating until the water remains clean.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt generously. Add the linguini, and cook until slightly underdone, about 7 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining the pasta. Set both aside.
While the pasta water is boiling, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile pepper; cook until the garlic is very lightly browned. Add the clams, clam juice, and white wine, and raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil; cover, and cook, shaking occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, until the clams open. Stir in the parsley. Remove from heat, and transfer to a bowl, discarding any clams that have not opened; set aside.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the butter and let it melt. Add the clam mixture and linguine. Cook over medium-low heat until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved pasta water a little at a time if the pasta is dry. Transfer to a large serving bowl, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with parsley.