This is recipe that has evolved over many years due to my love for shellfish and pasta. I have been spoiled by eating variations of this dish from my own hand, but also from great Italian restaurants, and perhaps best of all in Italian households where papa or mama makes the sauce.
I usually do not have the time to shop and make the admittedly superior “from scratch” with all fresh ingredients recipes. However, this a pretty good, easy, and always available in the cupboard alternative, when I have a craving and need a “quick fix.”
1. In non-metallic large skillet sauté fresh or re-hydrated garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil, insuring you do not brown (burn) the garlic. Add black pepper, splashes of dry white wine (I use Vermouth, Sherry or Madeira to add a touch of sweetness).
At this stage of cooking, if you choose to not use canned white sauce, use the ingredients needed for a more “purist” sauce recipe. I recommend Italian recipes as your source for clam/seafood linguine sauce – red or white.
2. Add defrosted and canned seafood to include oil (not water used to pack some seafood) from canned seafood. If you use the canned sauce, it contains clams and you may want to reduce or eliminate the canned clams. I love clams and include them. Save the clam liquid to reduce sauce thickness or as medium for dissolving thickeners.
3. Briefly sauté the sauce and seafood mixture to blend flavors.
4. Simmer the mixture until liquid is reduced to desired thickness and flavors are blended.
5. If you like a thicker sauce, you may choose not to reduce liquid, but add flour/cornstarch/arrowroot to thicken. Dissolve these ingredients in one of the juices from the canned seafood, or in water. This type of thickener helps prevent overcooking sauce. While simmering with these thickeners, you can add more liquid to maintain desired thickness. I use bottled clam juice or liquid from canned clams as a medium for dissolving these thickeners. I prefer to use arrowroot as thickener.
6. Cook linguine with kosher salt added. Drain and mix with butter and/or garlic if your taste desires. If not serving immediately, cool with cold water to stop cooking process. Can keep warm or re-heat by putting in ovenproof dish, covered, with or without sauce mixed in, and heating over “warm” temperature in the oven.
9. Serve with garlic bread or bread sticks with garlic dipping butter, and a green salad.
I prefer a Greek salad with this dish.
10. For dessert, serve with a palate cleansing lemon or lime sherbet/sorbet garnished with a splash of liqueur and fresh or dried peppermint/mint leaves. To accompany, serve a selection of Pepperidge Farm cookies. Follow this course with coffee/tea and after dinner drinks/liqueurs of choice. Also provide good quality after-dinner mints.
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