I love noodles! I made a Chinese crab recipe with egg noodle yesterday and I am tossing an Italian clam linguine tonight. I always think Chinese and Italian are link together with “Noodle”. Also the question – Is Italian spaghetti derived from Chinese noodles? The popular belief saying Marco Polo introduced Chinese noodles to Italy and spawned the Spaghetti. Even the more complicated Ravioli has its counterpart in the Chinese wonton. But pasta, made from the flour of hard wheat with water and salt added, cooked by boiling, has existed in some form since the days of the Roman Empire.
The most important step in making a good noodle dish – never over cook your noodle. Always cook it 70% “al dente” or bouncing off your teeth in Chinese expression.
• Always use fresh pasta when possible.
• Always use live clam when possible – never use frozen one.
• Always use a big pot of water when cooking pasta.
Just remember, simplicity is complexity in Italian pasta cooking!
Fresh linguine 1 lb
Extra virgin olive oil 4 tablespoons
Garlic 6 cloves, chopped
Shallot 1 bulb, chopped
Clam 2 lbs, Manila (little neck) clam
Kosher salt a pinch
Italian parsley small bunch, chopped
White wine ½ cup
Fish or chicken stock ½ cup, unsalted
Lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon
Dry pepper flakes 1/2 teaspoon
Bring 8 quarts of water to boil. Salt the water and drop the linguine into the boiling water. Use a long fork to stir the noodle so it won’t stick together. Depending on the type of noodle, fresh takes a couple of minutes but dry noodle takes longer. (Read the instruction from the label and deduct two minutes) Once you see the noodle is softening in the water, try it to see if it is “al dente”.
While the pasta cooks, make the sauce. In a 12-14 inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and shallot. Cook the garlic/shallot until it is translucent before it gets too brown, add the white wine and fish/chicken stock. Turn heat to high so liquid can reduce to half. Add in the clams. If you like a little heat in your pasta, it is optional to put in a little chili flakes. Cover the pan and cook until the clams stem open.
While cooking, coarsely chop the Italian parsley, including stems to give a better flavor.
Drain the linguine when it is still “al dente” – 60% cooked. Put it in the sauté pan with the clams; add kosher salt, lemon juice and freshly grounded pepper. (don’t forget clam juice is salty so gauge the amount of salt you put in. Toss the pasta in the pan to allow it to absorb the sauce. Remove any unopened clams and add parsley. Dinner is served!
Right now the pasta has absorbed the goodness of wine, broth, and clam juice. Add the flavor of garlic and parsley. It is a marriage from “Heaven”! Bon appétit!