Linguine with clams

(Catherine Smart for The Boston Globe)
July 13, 2011

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Serves 4

Linguine with clams is simple summer food at its best. First, saute garlic and crushed red pepper in a little olive oil, then add fresh littlenecks and a splash of white wine. As the clams steam, they release their briny juices to make an enticing sauce for pasta. Balance out the saltiness with a squeeze of lemon and chopped parsley and top with toasted panko breadcrumbs for crunch.

1 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 pound linguine
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 pounds littleneck clams (about 3 dozen), scrubbed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon butter
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, spread the panko. Toast it for 4 minutes or until golden brown.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the linguine and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until it is tender but still has some bite. Drain it into a colander and return it to its pot; set aside.

3. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the clams and wine. Cover and cook, shaking the pot occasionally, for 7 minutes or until the clams open. Discard any clams that do not open after cooking.

4. Add the clams and their juices to the pasta. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with butter, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the parsley.

5. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, if you like. Sprinkle with panko and the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley. Catherine Smart