In Italy, this dish is served with linguine or spaghetti, and the clam steaming liquid is combined with olive oil. In the eastern United States, cream is often added to the steaming liquid instead.
– Steamed Clams, 6 per person for main courses, 4 per person for first courses½ cup heavy cream or extra virgin olive oil.
– 12 ounces dried linguine or spaghetti or 1 pound fresh linguine.
Step 1:Cook the clams as directed. When all of them are open, scoop them out of the pot, put them into a bowl, and keep warm. Check the bottom of the pot for grit. If there is grit, pour the liquid into a clean bowl, leaving any grit behind in the pot, and then rinse out the pot and return the steaming liquid to it. Add the cream to the liquid and boil it down over high heat just until the sauce thickens slightly, just enough to coat the back of a spoon. If using oil, add it to the steaming liquid and bring it to a simmer. Season with salt (it may need just a little) and pepper.
Step 2:Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a rapid boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the package directions or until al dente —the pasta has the slightest resistance to the bite but no rawness. Drain the pasta in a colander, and then pour it into the pot with the sauce, and stir and toss to coat the pasta evenly.
Step 3:Divide the pasta among warmed pasta plates or soup plates and arrange the clams on top.