This easy-to-prepare pasta dish is a holiday hit
From the Holiday 2019 issue
When Marcus White has guests over for dinner, he often prepares clams with pasta. “I serve it with a big baguette to soak up the sauce,” says White, who is the executive chef at Sazio in Rehoboth Beach.
While the Millsboro native makes cooking look easy, you don’t need to be a pro to pull off clams with white wine sauce. Not only is it quick to prepare, it’s also versatile — which is a plus during the busy holiday season.
Sazio, located in Ristorante Zebra’s old space, marries seafood and Italian cuisine, and this chef knows his way around shellfish. He’s worked with the Big Fish Restaurant Group, which owns Sazio, for 20 years. Before heading up Sazio’s kitchen, White was the chef at The Summer House and Big Fish Grill. Along the way, he’s picked up some interesting tips. For instance, to clean clams, add some cracked pepper to a bowl of cool water and let them soak for 20 minutes. As they sit, the clams will filter the water, spitting out any sand in the process. (He’s not sure how the pepper affects the filtering, but it works.) “We’ve never had a guest complain about grit,” he says.
At Sazio, clams with linguini is a top seller. At home, feel free to improvise. Toss in some chopped spicy sausage or the herbs of your choice, White says. Use mussels or shrimp instead of clams. Finally, add a salad to make a comforting meal.
LINGUINI & CLAMS
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
⅛ cup of sliced garlic
¼ cup of minced shallots
2 anchovies, minced
Pinch of black pepper
¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup of white wine
2 cups of clam juice
1 tablespoon of butter
2 dozen middle neck clams, cleaned
2 ounces of frozen or canned baby clams
½ of a lemon
2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
1 pound of linguini
3 tablespoons of chopped parsley
Grilled baguette slices
Add oil to a saute pan. Add the garlic, shallots, anchovies, black pepper and red pepper flakes to the pan. Cook on medium heat for two to three minutes. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan. Add the clam juice and butter. Bring the sauce to a boil. Meanwhile, cook the linguini separately according to the directions. Drain.
Add the clams in their shells to the sauce. Cook until they open. Add the pasta and the frozen or canned clams. (The frozen clams should thaw quickly in the sauce.) Shake in the breadcrumbs to thicken the sauce. Squeeze lemon over the mix. Divide between two plates. Top the dish with grilled baguette slices and the parsley.