There are a certain number of classic Italian dishes I avoided making for far too long because of the fear they were fussy. Linguine alle vongole, or linguine with clams, is one such dish. The one time I finally bit the bullet and made it, I quickly realized just how wrong I'd been. I'll argue this garlicky, briny pasta is one of the easiest around. It's the epitome of fast and fancy — quick to make and impressive to serve. In fact, you may forget that little neighborhood Italian spot you used to order it from even exists.
The Most Perfect Formula for Fast & Fancy Pasta
Since clams are so quick-cooking, yet not really an everyday buy, they are arguably one of the most fast and fancy things you can make. Pair them with a simple box of pasta, tons of garlic, and a healthy splash of white wine and the results are all the proof you need to understand why this is such a tried-and-true Italian dish.
Oh, and did I mention this is a one-pot dinner? Once you've boiled and drained the linguine, the clams and aromatics are cooked right in the pot you just used. Then that pasta joins the crowd again to get soaked in the rich, briny sauce the shellfish creates.
Serve this pasta in shallow bowls, garnished with plenty of chopped parsley to add color and just a bit of fresh contrast. I also firmly believe this dish tastes best alongside a cool, crisp glass of white wine. One bite and you'll be whisked away to that favorite Italian restaurant — or, heck, even Italy itself — without leaving your kitchen table.
One-Pot Linguine with Clams
cloves garlic, thinly sliced
red pepper flakes
dry white wine
littleneck clams (about 3 dozen)
chopped fresh parsley leaves
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the linguine and cook until 2 minutes before al dente, about 8 minutes or according to the package instructions. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water, then drain the pasta.
Return the pot to the stove over medium heat, add the olive oil, and heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the wine and clams and increase the heat to high. Cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally by its handle, until the clams have opened, 3 to 6 minutes. As the clams open, use tongs to transfer them to a bowl.
When all the clams have opened, add 1 cup of the reserved pasta water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, tossing constantly and adding more pasta water as needed, until the pasta is al dente and has absorbed some of the sauce, and the sauce has thickened and coats the pasta, about 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the clams and any accumulated juices. Add the butter and parsley and toss until the butter is melted. Transfer the pasta to 6 bowls, dividing the clams evenly among each. Serve immediately.