Linguine with White Clam Sauce

This is by far one of my favorite recipes and one that I have been making for years.  Now that I can get fresh  clams at The Carolina Food Market, this dish is even better.  

Start by preparing your favorite linguine to al dente.  Don't forget to salt the water!  Drain and set aside.

Prepare your fresh clams by soaking them in a bit of flour and water for about 10 minutes.  The clams will ingest the flour and spit it out along with any dirt inside.  For this recipe, I use about 3 dozen fresh clams and I also buy a few cans of really good chopped clams.  The more clams the better.  Rinse soaked clams and then set aside.  Drain the canned clams over a bowl and reserve both clams and the juice.  

Heat a sauce pan...add about 1/4 Cup of olive oil and 3 TBLS of butter.  Add one small diced shallot and 8 garlic cloves minced.  Saute for a few not brown the garlic/onions. Add reserved clam juice plus one small bottle of clam juice and about 1/2 Cup white wine.  Add about 1 TBLS dried oregano, salt and pepper.  Allow the liquid to come to a fast simmer, then add the fresh clams.  Place lid on top of sauce pan and allow clams to open.  Remove each clam as it opens and reserve in a bowl.  

Once all fresh clams have been opened and removed, add the canned chopped clams, zest and juice of one fresh lemon.  I also throw in a few dashes of red pepper flakes at this point (feel free to leave out). Allow to simmer just a few more minutes then add fresh chopped parsley.  

Arrange cooked linguine in a deep bowl, pour clam sauce on top and stir to coat the noodles.   Top with the fresh clams, fresh parsley and a touch more lemon zest.  I also like to top mine with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.  This pasta is fabulous the next day!