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The Hirshon Linguine con Vongole

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • 2 pounds manila clams (or you can use 18 Littlenecks)
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced paper thin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Minced fresh hot chili pepper, 2 teaspoons, or to taste
  • 1 fresh, ripe, firm plum tomato, cut into 1/2-inch dice with its skin on, but drained of juice and all seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bottle top-quality clam juice (I like Bar Harbor brand)
  • 1 pound dry linguine pasta
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, torn into 2 or 3 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary


  1. Soak the clams for 5 minutes in a basin or sink filled with cold water. Drain and refill the basin with fresh cold water, leaving in the clams. Vigorously scrub the clams one by one with a very stiff brush (only if using Littlenecks). Drain, refill the basin, and repeat the whole scrubbing operation (again, only for Littlenecks). Do this 2 or 3 more times, always in fresh changes of water, until you see no more sand settling to the bottom of the basin. Discard any clams that, when handled, don’t clamp shut. Put them in a pan broad enough so that the clams don’t need to be piled up more than 3 deep, cover the pan, and turn on the heat to high. Check the clams frequently, turning them over, and remove them from the pan as they open their shells.
  2. When all the clams have opened up, take them out of the pan, using a slotted spoon. Try not to stir up the juices in the pan any more than you must. Detach the clam meat from its shell and gently swish each clam in the pan juices to rinse off any sand (if using Littlenecks, otherwise leave Manila clams as is in the shell). Unless the Littlenecks are exceptionally small, cut them up in 2 or even 3 pieces. Put the clams in a small bowl, pour 2 tablespoons olive oil over them, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and set it aside for later. Do not refrigerate.
  3. Line a strainer with paper towels, and filter the clam juices in the pan through the paper and into another bowl. If needed, add bottled top-quality clam juice to taste (remember this is basically the sauce and final cooking medium for the pasta, eyeball it and use your best judgment). Set aside for later.
  4. Choose a skillet or sauté pan broad enough to contain the pasta later. Put in 3 tablespoons olive oil and the sliced garlic, and turn on the heat to medium high. Cook the garlic, stirring it, for just a few seconds, without letting it become colored, then add the parsley and the chili pepper. Stir once or twice, and add the diced tomato. Cook the tomato for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring it from time to time, then add the wine plus the thyme and rosemary. Simmer the wine for about 20 to 30 seconds, letting it reduce, then turn off the heat.
  5. Cook the pasta in abundant boiling salted water until it is very firm to the bite, barely short of being fully cooked. When you bite a piece off, it should feel slightly stiff and the narrowest of chalk-white cores should be showing in the center of the strand.
  6. Turn the heat on to high under the skillet or sauté pan, drain the pasta and transfer it immediately to the pan. Add all the filtered clam juice, and cook, tossing and turning the pasta, until all the juice has evaporated. If the pasta was not too underdone when you drained it, it should now be perfectly cooked. Taste it and, in the unlikely event it needs more cooking after the clam juices have evaporated and been absorbed, add a small amount of water.
  7. As soon as the pasta is done, before you turn the heat off, add the clams with all the oil in the bowl and the torn basil leaves, toss in the pan 2 or 3 times, then transfer to a warm platter and serve at once.
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
  • Category: Recipes


  • Calories: 847.48 kcal
  • Sugar: 3.82 g
  • Sodium: 2585.25 mg
  • Fat: 20.85 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.08 g
  • Trans Fat: 0.03 g
  • Carbohydrates: 95.73 g
  • Fiber: 4.07 g
  • Protein: 60.57 g
  • Cholesterol: 68.04 mg

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