Pilar Valdes' Linguine Alle Vongole


Linguine Alle Vongole

  • 16 Littleneck Clams Cleaned
  • 1/4 Cup (Plus 2 Tablespoons) Olive Oil Divided
  • 2 Cups Hand Torn 1/2"-1" Pieces of Crusty Bread Sourdough or baguette is recommended.
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Peeled and finely sliced lengthwise.
  • 2 Pinches Dried Red Chili Flakes Plus more for serving.
  • 2 Pinches Fennel Seed
  • 1 Lemon Zest and juice divided.
  • 6 Sprigs Fresh Parsley Stems and leaves divided and roughly chopped.
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine Pilar Valdes typically uses Vermentino, which has good salinity.
  • 6 Oz Linguine
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper




Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to instructions, until just al dente - about 1 minute under the final cooking time. Remember to save your pasta water. 

While your pasta is cooking, make the sauce. 

Use a skillet large enough to fit your clams in one layer (I recommend using a straight sided skillet with a tight-fitting lid) 

 Place the skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  

In a medium bowl, season the torn bread with salt and black pepper. Add this to the skillet 

and toast the bread lightly, shaking the pan occasionally, until lightly golden in spots, but still soft and tender in others - about 1 minute. 

 Place the croutons back in the bowl; add the lemon zest and parsley leaves and toss to combine. Set aside. 

Keeping medium heat, add ¼ cup olive oil to the skillet and let it heat up.  

Add the garlic, chili flakes, parsley stems and fennel to the skillet. Briefly sautee to infuse the flavors. 

 As soon as the garlic becomes slightly translucent and sticky (but not brown), add your clams and white wine. 

Cover the skillet and bump the heat up slightly to medium-high.  

Allow the clams to cook and steam, shaking the pan back and forth occasionally, until just opened - about 4 or 5 minutes. 

Once the clams have opened, remove the lid. Add the pasta noodles. Stir and toss to coat the noodles and build the sauce and finish cooking the linguini.  

Between the wine and the liquid released from the clams, the pasta should have enough sauce. If it feels a bit dry, add in the pasta water, ⅛ cup at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.  

Toss in ½ of the crouton mixture and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and give the pasta a few good stirs.  

Check for seasoning and add freshly ground black pepper and fresh lemon juice.  

Remove from the heat and immediately transfer to serving bowls.  

Finish with the herby croutons on top. Serve with chili flakes, lemon wedges and additional bread for mopping up the sauce, on the side.