Linguine with Red Clam Sauce is a traditional dish for our family on Christmas Eve. However there are times during the year where I am craving this meal and the chances of finding Little Neck Clams at a grocery store or seafood market is virtually impossible. An alternative and a very good one at that is a Red Clam Sauce that from start to finish has you eating in 60 minutes from the start of preparation. All that is needed for this meal is some forethought when you go to the grocery store in order to have all of the ingredients needed.
- Olive Oil
- 4 – 8 Peeled Whole Garlic Cloves
- ½ Tablespoon of Salt (Sea Salt preferred)
- ½ Tablespoon of Sambal / Red Pepper Flakes (1 Whole Red Chili Pepper sliced in half, the spiciness is optional, but it does provide a nice subtle contrast the sweetness of the clams)
- ½ Cup of Red Wine
- 8 Ounce Bottle of Clam Juice
- 10 Ounce Can of Whole Baby Clams (drain the juice and save)
- 6.5 Ounce Can of Chopped Clams (drain the juice and save)
- 10 – 20 Fresh Basil Leaves (sliced into thin strips – julienne)
- 26 Ounce Container of Strained Tomatoes (An alternative tomato product can be used, but I prefer to use Strained Tomatoes)
- Grated Italian Cheese
- 1 – 1 ½ Pounds of Linguine
- In a large deep skillet drizzle the Olive Oil and add the Salt.
- When the Olive Oil is hot, add the Whole Peeled Garlic Cloves, stirring them until they are golden brown.
- Add the Red Wine and Sambal (Red Pepper Flakes or Chili Pepper)
- When the Red Wine comes to a boil, add to Strained Tomatoes and bring to a boil.
- Add the bottle of Clam Juice and the liquid saved from the drained cans of Whole Baby Clams and Chopped Clams.
- Stir and reduce the heat to Medium-Low and allow the sauce to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Bring a large pot of water with salt added (to quicken the boiling time and season the pasta) to a boil and add the Linguine. Follow the instructions on the container to cook the Linguine “al dente” style.
- After the Linguine has been added to the pot of boiling water, lower the heat on the sauce to Low.
- Just before the Linguine has been cooked “al dente”, add the Whole Baby Clams, Chopped Clams and Basil Leaves to the sauce mixing all of the ingredients together.
- When the Linguine is finished boiling, drain the pasta well then add the Linguine to the sauce. Increase the heat to High and thoroughly mix the Linguine and the Red Clam Sauce together so that the pasta is well coated with the sauce.
You can add grated Italian cheese to the top of the Linguine in your plate, but the brininess of the clam juice and the initial salt added should provide more than enough seasoning for the meal.
Although there are no opened clams adorning this meal, the flavor of this quick and easy Red Clam Sauce is just as flavorful. The dish is a perfect balance of the brininess of the sea combined with the sweetness of the clams with just a little amount of heat to bring it all together.