Let me start out by saying YES this was a very tasty meal, I am so proud of myself for making this dish. Of course many people are probably thinking, “piece of cake” but for me there was something about making the sauce with fresh cockles intimidated me. I was determined to try and there right near the front of my favorite supermarket, Wegman’s was a big iced display of fresh mussels and clams. And there was Gus; Gus is the chef in residence at the Wegman’s store in Ocean, NJ. He has a station near the front and next to the vegetables and it’s his job to cook tasty bites for customers using Wegman’s ingredients. He ALWAYS has a great recipe for me so I headed straight to him to get his take on white clam sauce. He happened to be cooking zucchini squash in a ginger soy sauce – very good! Gus gave me his recipe and I took some notes, but knew that I was going to tweak this recipe myself.
Here’s what I did:
Olive oil to cover the bottom of a braising pan
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 to 1 whole Vidalia onion ( I happened to have a half in the fridge)
red pepper flakes
1 small container of Wegman’s Garlic Cheese Butter
2 cups of chicken broth (use vegetable broth if you are vegetarian) I never thought to use broth, added great flavor,
1/2 cup of white wine
1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
1-2 TBS fresh oregano
1 bag of fresh clams
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Shredded or grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 # Barilla linguine (i’m convinced Barilla pasta has a lovely flavor of its own and adds another flavor to the dish)
Prior to preparing the meal put the clams in a basin of cold water with a lot of salt to soak for at least 30 minutes. The clams will rid themselves of any sand. I let them sit longer and changed the water a couple of times and put some ice in at one point to keep them cold. Then I put them in a bowl in the refrigerator.
Put a pot of salted water on to boil.
Heat oil in braising pan on medium. Add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook till softened and golden. Add the chicken broth and white wine, raise the heat slightly and cook down about 1/3 to 1/2.
Add the container of garlic cheese and half of the parsley. Toss in the oregano. Add the clams and turn up the heat. As the clams begin to open in 5-7 minutes, remove the clams with a slotted spoon to a bowl and start to shuck them, leaving as many as many as you would like to remain in the shell. I tried to pick out the smaller ones to put aside for the pasta. Once I started shucking I put the linguine in the boiling water.
When the pasta is about a minute away from being done, I put the clam bodies back in the pan. Season with salt and pepper. I reserved a cup of pasta water in case I needed it to add to the sauce.
Drain the linguine and add to the sauce in the braising pan. Toss well. Sprinkle grated cheese on top, the rest of the parsley and add the clams in the shell.
Buono Appetito! Mangia!