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Linguine and Clams: Cozy Weather Fare

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As the winter snow starts to melt away, giving way to warmer nights and sunny days; it's still just enough chill in the air for a bit of body and soul warming fare. Here is the perfect recipe for a meal on the patio by moonlight or in front of a cozy fire with friends who delight.

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Below is the list of ingredients for the main dish, also some clam care tips and side item ideas.

First and foremost remember to keep a clean kitchen, cooking/cutting surface and clean hands at all times when handling meat and seafood.

There are great online resources for tips on handling clams and other shellfish:

http://homecooking.about.com/od/seafood/a/clamtips.htm

http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodstorage/a/clamstorage.htm

The clams for this recipe were purchased at D&W Market in Kalamazoo, Michigan. They have a great selection of fresh seafood and local produce.

Linguine and Clams In White Wine Sauce* Serves 6

What you will need (General Items):

Large Pot (to boil pasta)

Large Skillet with Lid/Top (see-thru if possible)

Large Bowl (to soak clams)

Colander/Strainer (to drain pasta)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds littleneck clams

1/3 cup Olive Oil

3 garlic cloves (chopped/minced)

2/3 cup dry white wine

1/8 teaspoon salt (for recipe)

1/8 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper (add more for a spicier dish)

1 box or pound of Linguine pasta noodles

2 tablespoons butter (unsalted per preference)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning (optional; or if preferred to fresh herbs)

Cooking instructions can also be followed along with the step by step recipe slideshow accompanying article:

  1. Soak clams in a large bowl of cold salt water (1/3 cup of non-iodized salt (iodine will kill clams) to one gallon (3.7 liters) of water should work) for 20 minutes to expel any sand and dirt. Throw away any clams that are open (this is an excellent article with pictures on how to clean clams; and determine which ones to throw out http://www.wikihow.com/Clean-Clams ). Scrub clams under cold running water to remove outside dirt and sand. Set aside in cold water.
  2. Heat olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Add wine, salt, hot peppers, and any additional spices. Cook for about 3 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Boil water for pasta, and prepare per package directions. If using fresh linguine pasta noodles, pasta should be cooked al dente ("cooked just enough to retain a somewhat firm texture" Websters Dictionary)
  4. Meanwhile, back to the clams; add clams to the wine mixture, cover tightly and return to high heat.
  5. Cook until clams open (about 6 minutes). Discard any clams that did not open. Remove from heat. Add butter, mushrooms (Optional), green onions (optional), and parsley and cilantro (optional). Stir/toss gently until butter melts.
  6. Drain the linguine. Return to pot. Add clam mixture to linguine pot, or if skillet is deep and large enough you can add linguine to clam mixture. Toss pasta and clams together gently, and serve hot.

Some additional side items: Garlic Bread, Mixed Vegetable Side Salad, Perrier, Red or White Wine, and a healthy glass of Water.

*Recipe inspired by Giudice, Teresa. "Luscious Linguine With Manila Clams." Skinny Italian. and ed. Heather Maclean. New York: Hyperion, 2010. 228. Print.

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