There’s no better place to start experiencing some great Italian food, then with a traditional Linguine and Clam Sauce recipe.
Linguine and Clam Sauce a’la Frex
Half the fun is in the preparation.
The rest is pure pleasure, I promise.
It takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, so enjoy yourself.
(Make sure someone is making a nice salad and warming some Italian bread for dinner)
Exclusively yours from
Café Frex, Chicago
The Boomerang Club
Here’s what you need to get started:
Serves 4 hungry Italians or 6 to 8 white people.
2 12-14 oz cans of chopped baby Clams
2 cans of whole baby Cams (more if you want)
8 cloves of garlic – Cleaned and Very Thinly Sliced
1 small Bunch of Italian Parsley (Chop off the stems and chop all the leaves coarsely, but not to whole… no stems!)
1 cup of Pinot Grigio (or any white wine. Drink some. If you like it – use it)
1 stick of Margarine (not butter)
½ Cup of Safflower Oil (no not olive oil. Not for this one!)
1 lb. of Linguine
1 cup of Parmesan Cheese
¾ cup of crushed (not chopped – crushed) walnuts (This is the secret) (Don’t worry, you’ll love it)
Salt and pepper to taste (if you don’t know what that means, it’s salt about the size of a quarter in your palm and a three or five turns on the pepper grinder..five shakes)
Here’s the fun part!
Get everything ready before you start!
Big pot for the pasta
Large skillet for the clams
Big serving bowl
Open the clams and strain – reserve the clam juice in a measuring cup. You will need 1 and ¼ cup of the clam juice. (save the rest of the juice to pour over the cat’s dinner, she’ll love you for it!). OK, I got you there, with the “Open the Clams”, I know. I meant open the cans of clams. Feel better now?
Clean and finely slice the garlic.
Pat dry between paper towels and Chop the parsley, as explained above (no stems)
Mix the cup of parmesan cheese with ½ cup of crushed walnuts. Mix it good.
You will be using the rest of the parsley and walnuts at the very end.
You are ready to begin! Pour another glass of wine!
Oh and drink it!
1. Place a large pot with about two quarts of salted water and a tablespoon of safflower oil on the burner and start getting it hot (this is for the pasta..you want it to be boiling by the time you are ready to start the pasta, but don’t let it boil away..when it starts to boil, lower the heat to stop the bubbles. Just keep it hot!
Do not set the flame to fry!! This is Italian, it’s a simmer.
2. When the oil and margarine are combined, sauté the garlic until golden (not burnt, not brown..golden!!!)
3. Remove garlic and reserve. (be sure to remove ALL the garlic. We don’t want any burnt pieces of garlic to spoil the whole batch…and don’t burn yourself, the oil is hot. Remove it with a spoon and place it in a coffee cup or bowl, a tiny bit of oil is ok)
4. Add all the clams and about 98% of the parsley to the oil & margarine and saute for 5 minutes. Mmmmmmm!
(You will be saving a pinch of the parsley to sprinkle on the final dish.)
5. Add the clam juice (1 ¼ cup) and the reserved garlic to the clams and parsley and simmer slowly for 10 more minutes, stiring occasionally.
6. Add ½ cup of Pinot Grigio and drink the other half.
7. Turn the heat up under the water for the pasta and get it to a boil!
12 more minutes and it will be ready to eat.
Let the clam mixture simmer for about 2 more minutes to steam away the alcohol (aw, too bad!) then lower the heat to a minimum flame and let them sit with the cover on. Just to keep them hot. Go ahead, stir them if you like, they should smell great by now.
8. Add the linguine to the boiling water and cook until firm (aldente’) That’s about nine minutes. Be sure to keep stirring the pasta, because linguine has a tendancy to stick together. Taste one, if it tastes right, it’s done. Or throw it on the ceiling. If it sticks..it’s done!
9. Sprinkle about ¾ of the parmesan cheese/walnut mixture into the big serving bowl. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper to taste (remember that) and blend it well.
10.Drain the linguine real well and mix the noodles in the serving bowl with the parmesan cheese, walnut mixture. Coat all the noodles.
11.Pour about ¾ of the clam sauce over the linguine and mix well. Don’t toss it, or the cat will have her dinner before you.
12.Finally, arrange the balance of the sauce on top of the linguine, sprinkle the balance of the parmesan/walnut mix in a circle on the pasta, around the edge of the bowl.
13. Mix the remaining ¼ cup of the chopped walnuts with whats left of the parsley and sprinkle all around, evenly ….dress it up! It’s only going to look good for a few minutes before everyone digs in.
What? You drank all the wine? Open another bottle, it’s only grapes.
Linguine and Clam Sauce
Oh, why walnuts? A secret handed down from actress/singer Carol Lawrence. She was raised in Melrose Park and her grandmother had a secret that she kept till quite near the end of her life.
The crushed walnuts form a starch that when mixed with the clams allows the “sauce” to not run down the noodles so much, leaving them all in the bottom of your dish.
Personally, I don’t care if they run or not. This dish is a keeper!
PS: If it all looks too hard to do, just buy all the ingredients, invite me over, bring friends (I’ll bring the wine) and I’ll cook it for you. It may be just as much fun without me, but then I get to eat too. And that’s a good thing! Enjoy!