For the longest time I had huge problems trying to make linguine with clam sauce like my mom’s. Try as I might I could never get it as thick as hers. I tried everything too, more butter, less liquid, more clams, nothing ever seemed to work. I had pretty much given up hope I’d ever recreate it until the Christmas I asked for copies of her recipe books. Once the books arrived I saw the recipe for clam sauce and the secret code was revealed…
Flour. She added a flour paste to the sauce. Now of course this wouldn’t have occurred to me in my trials. I mean, in all the research I did trying to find the one which matched hers none had flour as an ingredient. They were all fine recipes but they weren’t the way my mom made it and that was the way I liked it. Hers had a way of really sticking to the pasta, a creamier sauce. Flour. Never guessed that. It probably goes against all clam sauce recipes but it’s really really good and you can’t even taste the flour.
This is an easy recipe for a quick weeknight dinner or since we’re now in Lent a good Friday night dinner. Pun intended. It’s nothing fancy and you don’t need to go shopping for any special ingredients. Sure you can opt for fresh clams if you want, but that’s not how my mom makes hers, and that’s the one which gives me happiness. I think my mom’s recipe calls for just two cans of clams but I like to add more. Basically, add however many you like.
Side Roam: This one’s for the Chicago Ranter, who in the past has requested I do more fish recipes (that’s right, I take requests, don’t always do ‘em but I take ‘em). I don’t think clams count as fish (shellfish?) but they’re from the ocean so I’m close. And since I made his “Top 10 Best Chicago blogs” for the second year in a row I figured it was about time I did one for him. Of course, with my luck he’ll probably be allergic to shellfish.
Clam sauce (makes enough for 1 lb of linguine)
- ⅓ C olive oil
- ½ C butter
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 C clam juice (3 cans of clams should provide enough) or water
- ½ C parsley
- 1 tsp salt (maybe even less)
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 3-4 Tbs flour
- 3 cans of chopped clams
Over medium high heat, melt the butter in the oil. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
Pour in the clam juice and then stir in the salt, pepper, parsley, and oregano.
Bring to a simmer.
Using some of the clam juice in the pan make a paste with the flour.
Add the clams. Whisk in the paste and stir until the sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Toss with linguine (cooked linguine that is).
And don’t you dare put any cheese on this!