A delicious, lemony version of creamy white clam sauce
12 very large chowder clams (each about 8 to 10 ounces)
a little bottled clam juice (if necessary)
3 tablespoons butter
12 large garlic cloves, finely minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups shredded fresh basil plus additional for garnish
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
freshly ground black pepper
1. Open clams, making sure to catch all the clam juice. Mince the clams and reserve them. Pour the clam juice into a large measuring cup; it should come to about 3 cups. (If it doesn't, make up the difference with bottled clam juice.)
2. Melt the butter over moderate heat in a heavy saucepan. Add the garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. (Do not let it brown.) Add the Flour, and cook, whisking to blend well, for another 2 minutes. Add the clam juice all at once, whisking to blend well with the roux. Bring to a boil, add 3/4 cup shredded basil, the lemon juice, and the lemon rind. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 2 minutes, adding the minced clams for the last 30 seconds of cooking. Add freshly ground black pepper, if desired, and a little water if the sauce is too thick.
3. When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander. Return pasta to its cooking pot, and place over low heat. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of shredded basil and half of the clam sauce. Stir well. Divide the pasta among 5 or 6 bowls, and top with remaining clam sauce (you may have a little left over). Garnish with additional basil leaves, and serve immediately.
This is a delicious, lemony version of creamy white clam sauce. We like it on spaghetti, and also on thin pasta fresca, like taglierini. Makes enough sauce for 1 pound pasta