Lin­guine with clams, cooked like risotto

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - FOOD DRINK -


1.5kg clams – use mus­sels if you can’t get hold of clams

5 tbsp olive oil

2 large gar­lic cloves, one bruised with the side of a knife, the other finely chopped

100g bunch of flat leaf pars­ley, stalks and leaves sep­a­rated A cou­ple of pinches of dried chilli flakes, or to taste

200ml white wine

320g lin­guine

1 red onion or shal­lot, finely diced 30g but­ter

1 lemon, for squeez­ing

Ex­tra vir­gin olive oil, to driz­zle


Soak the clams in their shells in well-salted wa­ter for at least two hours (you can put them in a bowl in the fridge), then wash them in fresh wa­ter. Dis­card any that are bro­ken or dead (tap each shell on the work­top – they should close).

Heat three ta­ble­spoons of olive oil in a saucepan large enough to cook the clams (they shouldn’t be too crowded or the shells may not open). When the oil is hot, drop in the bruised gar­lic clove – this will re­lease the aro­mat­ics.

Add the clams to the pan and shake. Next add the pars­ley stalks, a pinch of dried chilli flakes, and the white wine. Bring to the boil and cook with the lid on over a high heat for three to four min­utes. Most of the shells should have opened by then; give them a hand by shak­ing the pan ev­ery now and then.

When the clams are cooked, set a colan­der over a large bowl and drain the clams, catch­ing the cook­ing liquid in the bowl. Trans­fer this to a pint glass to al­low any grit to fall to the bot­tom.

Cook the lin­guine in a large pan of lightly salted wa­ter, un­til just soft – about two min­utes. Leave in the wa­ter un­til needed.

In a large non-stick fry­ing or sauté pan, heat the re­main­ing two ta­ble­spoons of oil over a medium heat and add the chopped gar­lic and onion or shal­lot. Add a pinch of chilli flakes (more if you like it hot­ter) and cook for one minute.

Scoop out the pasta with a slot­ted spoon or la­dle and add it to the fry­ing pan. Pour over the clam cook­ing juices, be­ing care­ful to leave any grit in the glass. Bring to the boil but hang on to the pasta wa­ter in case the pan boils dry.

Cook the pasta in the boil­ing clam juices for about six to eight min­utes. Half­way through, dot the but­ter over the pasta and stir it in as it melts. If the pan shows any sign of dry­ing, add a bit of re­served pasta wa­ter, as you would with a risotto.

Keep stir­ring the pasta to en­sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. By the end you will have fluffed up pasta that is coated with a thick starchy sauce.

Pick most of the clams from their shells and add them all to the pasta. Leave loosely cov­ered with heat turned off for three min­utes for the pasta to ab­sorb the juices.

Fin­ish with lemon juice to taste, the pars­ley leaves (chopped) and a good slug of your best olive oil, and stir it all to­gether. Check the sea­son­ing (the clam juices should en­sure it is salty enough) and serve in large warmed pasta bowls.

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