Saturday, November 19, 2011

Linguine alle vongole

This is a longtime favorite of ours, and we use a Food & Wine magazine recipe from 1996. Dan made it this week, and it was a treat: Littleneck clams in a sauce of their own briny juices, white wine, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and a judicious dash of red pepper flakes, commingling perfectly with long strands of linguine.The almost fully cooked pasta is tossed in with the sauce for the final few minutes to absorb all those flavors. It's an essential Italian pasta technique. I'm thankful I live near the sea, because the clams—vongole in Italian—absolutely, positively must be fresh! "No canned clams" is right up there with "no wire hangers!" Serve with a crusty piece of garlic bread and a nice Italian vino bianco and it's pazzesco buona (crazy good!) One thing we DON'T serve it with: cheese. Seafood and cheese is vietato (forbidden) in Italy—as my brother David found out when he ordered his seafood pizza at Lo Guarracino restaurant in Positano; that's his ’za on the right in the photo below. Looks like the wine pitcher needs refilling!

Back to the linguine and clams: For wine, we bought a 2009 Falanghina by Terredora DiPaolo at Henry's Market Wine Cellar in Beverly. This was was yummy from opening to finish. The wine comes from the Campania region of Italy, which includes Naples and the Amalfi Coast, and is an excellent alternative for white wine lovers who want to go beyond chardonnay or pinot grigio. During our trip in Italy we tried some Greco di Tufo, also a very nice white from Campania, but haven't been able to find it near our home ... yet. Meanwhile, this Falanghina will do!

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