My mom makes the best clam sauce in the whole wide world. (See for yourself--these are the mouthwatering pics of the actual dinner she made when I was visiting her this past week!) I love this sauce because it isn't white, and it isn't red. It's in between. She makes a basic white clam sauce but adds some chopped tomatoes to the sauce.
This is a slightly sweet sauce because of her secret ingredient: Marsala wine. A lot of white clam sauce recipes call for dry white wine, but she insists on Marsala and Marsala only, which gives the sauce a slight sweetness that offsets the garlic and clams. The chopped tomatoes (rather than puree) complement the Marsala, and when the alcohol reduces, thickens, and the basil works its magic, well, you've got yourself a bit of snack heaven on your hands. Crusty bread and a glass of your house red is a must!
CHICKIE’S LINGUINI & CLAM SAUCE
1 pound of linguini
¾-1 cup exrta-virgin olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup Marsala wine
2 cans of 6.5-ounce chopped clams, 1 drained, 1 juice reserved
1 Tbs. dried basil
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
½ a 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
Locatelli Romano cheese, grated
Boil water for pasta, and cook al dente, according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepot, heat olive oil over medium low. Add garlic, and cook gently for about 5 minutes, being sure garlic doesn’t burn.
Stir in wine, clams, basil, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper, tomatoes. Bring to a gentle boil; reduce to a very soft simmer, and cover. Let cook for 15 minutes. Toss sauce with hot pasta, and serve, passing grated cheese at the table.