Look to this Linguini and Clam Sauce when you want a little something different for dinner. It's a super simple and humble dish that just makes dinner feel extra special. Well, it does for me anyway! The good news is, it's so easy to make you could enjoy it any day of the week.
Lots of fresh garlic and good Spanish chorizo make this dish really pop. I also like to take the time to make fresh pasta. It elevates the special feeling even high, and fresh pasta really is more simple to make than you might think.
This is such a simple dish, that having super fresh and good quality ingredients makes a big difference here. I like to make sure I use good olive oil too and I usually break out the Irish butter for finishing the dish.
When you purchase clams, you want to be sure to keep them on ice, covered on the bottom and top, until you use them. They need to stay super cold to stay alive and fresh.
Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top of the post, or scroll to the bottom of the post to see the full recipe card with ingredient measurements and instructions.
Cleaning the clams:
The first thing you need to do when you want to make this recipe is to clean the clams. Place them in a bowl or bin and cover them with water. The clams will breathe under the water, taking in the fresh water and releasing any sand or grit that might be inside them. You will notice a build-up in the bottom of the container as they clean themselves.
Gently lift the clams from the water after they soak for 20-30 minutes. You do not want to disturb the water too much so they don't get any sand on the outside. Rinse them in cool water as you lift them from their soak. The clams should all be tightly closed after handling them, give a gentle squeeze and you will see them tighten up. If they do not close up, discard them even before cooking.
Cooking the clams:
Start by sauteing the garlic, red onion, and chorizo in olive oil until fragrant. Add the clams and white wine to the pan and place a lid on top. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook covered until the clams open-7-9 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open.
Once all the clams have opened, remove them from the pan and add the cooked pasta to the liquid that has accumulated in the pan. Top the pasta with cilantro, lemon zest, and finish with butter. Toss everything together to combine, and add the clams back to the pan.
All of this comes together in 20-30 minutes, making it a classic you can toss together whenever the mood strikes. Serve it with a glass of the white wine you used to steam the clams with and enjoy!
Notes & Tips
When buying clams, be sure to store them in the refrigerator on ice. They should have ice on the bottom and top of them, but they should never be under water. If you buy your clams a day or two in advance of cooking, I wouldn't buy more than that, just check them daily and remove any standing water that may accumulate in their storage container. Also, never store them in a sealed plastic bag, they are alive and need air to breath.
To clean the clams, remove them from their mesh bag or storage container, and place them in a bowl and cover with cool water. Allow the clams to rest in the water for 20-30 minutes, remove the clams from the water and drain the dirty water, then repeat this process 2-3 times to allow the clams to expell all of the sand or grit they carry with them.
For a little more subtle flavor, use shallots instead of red onion. I used red onion in this recipe because with the addition of the chorizo and cilantro, the red onion could stand on its own.
For a more classic Italian dish, drop the chorizo and replace the cilantro with parsley.
If you would like to keep this recipe dairy-free, use more olive oil in the place of the butter. It will keep the dish rich while removing the dairy if you need that.
If you are not making fresh pasta, it is totally ok to use boxed pasta, simply cook it according to the package directions.