Creamy Clam Linguine
3 pounds steamer clams 1 pound linguine pasta 5 cloves garlic, chopped 1 cup white wine (Jim and Mary at The Wine Loft next door recommend Domaine de Martinolles 2009 Chardonnay - great for cooking *and* drinking!) 3 T flour 3 T butter ½ cup cream Parsley, black pepper and parmesan cheese to taste/garnish In a small pan, melt the butter and then wisk in the flour to make a roux for thickening your sauce. Cook the roux on medium heat for about 3 minutes and set aside to cool to room temperature. Get a pot of lightly salted water going for the pasta on a back burner, and a big pan with a lid to cook the clams in front and center. In the clam pan, add the garlic and the wine (+pour a glass for the chef!) and turn it on medium high to simmer for a minute to soften the garlic. While that's rolling, rinse your clams in a colander and then add them to the wine and put the lid on tight. Once the clams start steaming, give them a stir and let them cook for about 5 minutes all together, or until 99% of them open. If you have one or two clams that are stubborn, don't try to pry them open - just toss them! (If you have more than one or two you probably need to cook them just a bit longer.) When the clams are cooked, take the lid off the pot and turn the burner off. Get your pasta cooking on that back burner and place a cutting board next to the stove. Without burning your fingers, shuck about 2/3 of the clams out of their shell. Give them a quick chop, then slide the clam meat back into the pan. You'll have a bunch of liquid and about 20 clams in their shell still. Shove the clam shells to one side of the pan and wisk in the roux from the first step along with the cream. Turn the burner back on medium high and stir the clam mixture for a minute or two while the sauce thickens. Hopefully right about now your pasta will be done! Drain the pasta well and fold it into your clams and sauce. Serve portions with a sprinkle of chopped parsley, shaved cheese and fresh cracked pepper. Delish! A lighter option: Leave out the roux and the cream - the broth and clams are still very flavorful and make a fabulous meal served over pasta or rice. You can also substitute water or a light colored beer for the wine, if you must.
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