Linguini and Clams - Dinner with la mia famiglia!

In the last couple of weeks I had the pleasure of my family visiting. First my sister came with her daughter.  They spent just under a week visiting with my husband, I, and my two uncles who also live in Seattle. After they left, a week went by and phase two visitors arrived. This time it was my parents, and I was so pleased to spend time with them. I had not seen them since last summer and as time goes on I really cherish the bits of time I spend with all of them when given the chance. I guess this is the price to pay when you move so far away.

I took them around to taste all that the city had to offer. I love sharing in that first taste that someone gets to experience; I mean it is something personal that you get to participate in together…hopefully always memorable. Seeing the city through the eyes of my four year old niece is fun; and sharing all that I love here with my sister and my parents was more than fun. We ate, and ate, and ate some more.


I also cooked a bit. I made a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies with my niece. (Nothing special there, just your average cookie recipe – like my Aunt Kim did with me when I was little.)  We sandwiched the cookies with vanilla ice cream and enjoyed eating them outside.

I made a family dinner of Linguini and Clams for my parents and my uncles.  It was nice to cook and serve them. Since I do not see them often it is a rare occation to cook and serve them. So on a very hot and humid day in Seattle; one of the hottest days this year has seen, while my parents were cooling off by the pool I was in my kitchen (with no air conditioning just two fans) cooking up some Clam Sauce and boiling water for the pasta. Needless to say by the time I was done cooking I was flushed, sticky and could have used a jump in the pool myself. Although I would have not changed a thing, I had so much fun cooking, serving, and sitting down with all of them for a family dinner in our very small apartment. Some special memories were made!

Linguini and Clam Sauce (serves 6 – 8)


2 pounds of Linguini

4 pounds of Fresh Clams (I used Little Necks)

28 oz can of Tomatoes, whole & peeled – crushed by hand

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 small onion, chopped small

1 tsp of crushed red pepper

¼ cup of olive oil (plus more for drizzling)

2 ½ cups of dry white wine

Fresh Basil (2 – 3 hands full) torn

Sea Salt and fresh Black Pepper to taste

Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated for serving


First, place a large pot of salted water on high heat to boil and place a large sauté pan over medium heat. When your sauté pan is heated through add in your olive oil. When your olive oil is fragrant (about a minute) add in your garlic, onion, and crushed red pepper. Stir it ell and simmer about 3 – 5 minutes. You want your onions to become clear and be careful your garlic does not get too browned.

Meanwhile, in a large colander place you clams and give them a good rinsing. You want to be sure no sand or grit remains on them.

Next, add your tomatoes to your sauté pan and simmer together stirring it well. Season it with the sea salt and the black pepper. Once it is simmering about 5 minutes add in your wine and raise your heat to high. Stir it well and let it all simmer away together. Let it all cook together about 10 minute before lowering your heat back down to a medium.

Finally, your pot of water should be boiling. Add in your linguini and keep stirring it well to prevent it from sticking. Set a timer to the boxes suggested cooking time (usually 9 – 10 minutes) and let it boil away. I feel that linguini has the tendency to stick together do to its shape and size so be sure to stir it frequently.  Once you add your pasta to the water you can add your clams to your sauce. Pile them in and stir well. Cove you sauté pan with a lid and let them steam in the sauce. When your timer rings for your pasta you should drain it, and remove the lid from your sauce. You should see that all your clams have opened and are marrying with the sauce.  Place a bit of the sauce in a large serving bowl. Place your linguini in over and toss well. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the linguini and give another tossing. Sprinkle it with the fresh basil and a drizzle of Olive Oil if you wish, and serve.

*NOTE: If you notice any of the clams do not open please remove them from your dish. You do not want to serve a bad clam to your guests.

**This dish usually has sauce that will settle on the bottom of the serving bowl. Be sure to ladle the extra sauce over the dish when serving.