Although this is a dish one can find in Venice today, it is essentially a recipe from the south, around Naples. “Things move around more now than they did when I was growing up,” Francesco says. “And with the wonderful clams we have in Venice, there’s no reason we shouldn’t enjoy a dish like this.” Although clams are delicious when steamed open in white wine, Francesco does not use wine in a sauce for pasta because he finds it makes the pasta taste sour. “The water from cooking the pasta is a better liquid to use,” he advises.
Linguine With Broccoli Rabe, Clams, And Hot Pepper
- 3 tbsp (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 bunch broccoli, chopped and stems removed
- 8 ounces (250 g) cockles, Manila or littleneck clams
- 8 ounces (250 g) linguine
- Hot red pepper flakes to taste
- Bring a pot with 4 quarts (4 L) of water to a boil for the linguine.
- Meanwhile heat the oil in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Add the garlic, cook for a minute, then stir in the broccoli rabe. When the rabe has wilted, stir in the clams, cover, and cook over low heat until they have opened, about 10 minutes.
- When the water for the linguine is boiling add the pasta, stir it, and cook until it is al dente, about 8 minutes.
- Drain the pasta, reserving about 2 cups (500 ml) of the cooking water, and return the pasta to the pot.
- Stir about a cup (250 ml) of the pasta cooking liquid in with the clams, then transfer the clams and broccoli rabe to the pot with the linguine.
- Mix the ingredients well.
- Add more liquid from the linguine if necessary.
- Sprinkle with hot red pepper flakes and serve.