Linguine with Fresh Pasta and Clam Sauce

Linguine with clam sauce does not inspire any cute stories or anecdotes. Essentially, this dish is just a combination of my favorite foods – pasta, clams, garlic, and of course, Parmesan cheese.

Whenever I crave this, I make it, and I always feel satisfied after eating it. A simple, salty sauce with tons of garlic and just a touch of creaminess adds a touch of richness.

This recipe is based on, gasp, an old Rachael Ray recipe I found in my recipe binder. Check out the Food Network website for the original recipe. RR fans, this is one of the last times you will see anything Rachael Ray-related on this blog.

The first change we made was the use of fresh clams instead of Rachael’s recipe. The dish would also be fantastic with some canned clams, even though fresh clams are fantastic, and either way is acceptable.

We used the thin spaghetti attachment on our kitchen aid to cut some of his fantastic quick and dirty, fresh pasta.

Fresh Linguine with White Clam Sauce

1 15oz can of whole baby clams or two dozen clams of your choice (we used tiny littlenecks)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Six cloves of garlic, minced fine
One heaping tablespoon of anchovy paste or six anchovy filets
Approximately two tablespoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
One cup dry white wine plus more if you are cooking fresh clams
Liquid from clams or clam juice, 1 cup
Zest 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/4 – 1/2 cup (or more) of Romano or Parmigiano cheese
1 pound dried or fresh linguine or other thin pasta

We added some parsley to our mix and half white wine and half water to the pan and cooked the clams in. Cook the clams until they are just open. Since they will be returned to the pan at the end, you don’t want to overcook or even thoroughly cook them at this point.
Reduce this liquid for a few minutes after removing the clams. Replace the clam juice with the remaining liquid. If you don’t have a full cup, you can make up the difference with chicken broth or bottled clam juice. Discard the clam cooking liquid and set the clams aside.
Boil and salt your pasta water in a large pot. Using dried pasta, make it very al dente as it will absorb some of the liquid from the clam sauce.
With the olive oil, heat another saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, anchovy paste, or filets. Stir the anchovy paste or filets into the sauce until they melt (this shouldn’t take long).
Thyme and white wine should be added. Let the wine reduce for a minute. Then add the liquid from the clams and lemon zest. Then add the clams and pasta. Add the sauce and toss for a few minutes.
Add the cheese and parsley to your liking just before serving.
Wow, was this good!