Razor clams are shellfish with an unusual shape. Compared to vongole (clams) they are sweeter and slightly more chewy. The recipe for linguine with razor clams is very similar to that of spaghetti alle vongole. Just like other clams, the razor clams come with a ‘built-in’ sauce that is delicious and it is important to include it in the dish. The main things to remember are first that it is important to allow the razor clams to purge themselves of sand, which takes longer than usually required for vongole. Second, to not overcook razor clams. They will become very tough if you overcook them. They are done as soon as the shells open up.
800 grams (1.8 lb) razor clams
300 grams (.66 lb) linguine
1 clove garlic
red chilli flakes
extra virgin olive oil
120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
2 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
Turn off the heat as soon as the clams have opened, a couple of minutes.
Drain the clams, reserving the liquid.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the linguine without salt and set the timer for one minute less than the time indicated for al dente.
Take most of the razor clams out of their shells, reserving a few for garnish.
While the pasta is cooking, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and add a whole garlic cloved, peeled. Cook it over medium heat until it is golden, then discard the garlic. (A quick way to do this is to tilt the pan so the garlic can ‘deep fry’.)
Filter the clam juice with a fine sieve and add to the garlic-flavored oil. Add chilli flakes to taste.
Bring to a boil and allow to reduce over medium heat. Do not reduce it by too much, there should be enough liquid left to finish cooking the pasta such that after a minute of cooking the sauce is just right. This takes a bit of practice.
When the timer beeps, drain the linguine and add to the oil and clam juice, together with the reserved clams. Stir for a minute over medium heat to allow the clams to warm through and the sauce to thicken and to coat the pasta.
Turn off the heat and stir in 2 Tbsp of minced parsley.
Serve on preheated plates with the reserved razor clams in the shell for garnish. Drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil, if you like.
This is great with a full-bodied Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, such as Podium from Garofoli. Many other full-bodied Italian whites will work as well.
Lamb chops ‘scottadito’ are called that way because they are so delicious that you burn your fingers from your eagerness to eat them while they are still hot. Like many Italian dishes, it is as delicious as it is easy to prepare.