"Anchovies are the secret ingredient to this sauce," Rach says. "If you think you don't like them, chances are you're wrong. Once you melt them, they just taste like natural salt. You can omit them if you like, but I strongly recommend you try my recipe as is with the anchovy."
Rach's Pro Tip: Fresh cockles or clams keep 5 to 6 days in the fridge. Leave them in the net in a colander over a plate, and cover with wet towels. Store in the lowest part of the refrigerator.
Try pairing this Italian seafood pasta with John's Frozen Gin & Tonic (adult slushy!).
- 2 pounds fresh cockles or littleneck clams, scrubbed clean (or 2 cans baby clams)
- 1 pound linguine
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 3 to 4 anchovies
- 5 to 6 large cloves garlic, chopped (about 1 bulb)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 lemon, zested and halved
- Chile paste or dried chile flakes
- About 1 cup white wine or dry vermouth
- Kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons butter
- About 1 cup parsley, chopped (a big handful)
- A handful micro celery or celery tops, chopped
If using fresh clams, put cockles in bowl of iced salted water and let sit for ½ hour. Drain.
Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
Put the clams in a large pot over medium heat. Add about ½ cup water and steam until shells open and release their clam juice (or liquor, as it's called), a few minutes, then turn off heat.
In a large pan, add EVOO, a few turns of the pan, add anchovies over medium-low heat and gently stir until anchovy melts. Add garlic, thyme, lemon zest, chili paste or chile flakes, and stir. Add about 1 cup wine, turn up the heat and reduce sauce by half.
Add pasta to pot of boiling water and salt it.
Remove about ¾ clams from their shells, adding back to their liquor in the pot. Transfer the clams in their shells to a plate.
Squeeze lemon halves into sauce, add butter and half the parsley. Add clam liquor and shelled clams to pan sauce.
Drain pasta just shy of al dente, then add to sauce and finish cooking. Add celery tops or micro celery and garnish with reserved clams in shell. Finish with remaining parsley.