My son begs me for this every time we pass the seafood counter. It's quick, and provided you like clams, it's also delicious.
I try to make this the same day I buy the clams. Depending on who I buy clams from and how they wrap them up, sometimes I think they get too warm or asphyxiate, so now I bring them home right away, open the packaging, and put them on ice. The pan you cook these in must have a tight fitting lid or you run the risk of torturing your clams instead of just cooking them.
If my directions make this sound a little laborious, rest assured this is fast. It just takes a while to write about. :)
1 pound dried linguine
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 cups chopped tomatoes
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 cup sake or white wine
2 pounds fresh clams rinsed and strained
salt and pepper
optional: grated parmesan cheese
Heat a big pot of salted water and bring it to a boil. If you aren't sure how much salt to add, just taste the water to see if it tastes good.
While you are waiting for the water to boil, heat a 14" sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and chopped garlic, and when the garlic starts to sizzle, add in the tomatoes and salt them right away. (I think three large tomatoes would be perfect, but I try to use up whatever I have on hand since I'm collecting tomatoes from the garden every day right now and I don't want them to go bad. It only makes the sauce drier or juicier.)
Let them cook long enough that they start to break down, and then add the sake. Bring it back up to a boil, and then grab your strainer of clams. If any of the clams haven't closed when you rinsed them off, this means they are already dead, so throw them out. Pour the rest into your pan, cover it immediately, and turn the heat up to high. (Don't do that if the sauce looks a little dry, but I always crank up the heat and hope for a quick death.) Give it a few minutes, and then you can start checking to see if all of your clams have opened. When they are wide open they are done. If any of the clams don't open after all the others have, throw them out. Taste the sauce for salt and pepper. At this point the sauce is done, and you can turn the heat down to the lowest setting.
When your salted pasta water has come to a boil, add the linguine and cook it until it's almost done. Strain it and add it to your sauce to finish cooking and absorb some of the liquid from the sauce. Top it with a healthy sprinkle of chopped parsley and grated parmesan if you like. On a recent cooking show binge I discovered that Italian seafood pasta is never EVER combined with cheese, but... I like cheese and I am far from Italy. The Italians will never know.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!