This recipe has amazing flavor and can be used with clams, mussels, shrimp or a combination of all three. This dish, even though it looks sophisticated and complicated, is super easy and quick! You can make this for under $10/person...this recipe will serve a family of four...hard to get a quality dish like this in a restaurant for the price...
Start by purchasing super, fresh clams. I buy all of my seafood and meats at The Carolina Food Market. You can get the majority of these ingredients at this market. For this recipe, I used 4 dozen little neck clams. I start by soaking the clams in a bowl of water and flour. The clams ingest the flour and spit it out with any sand/dirt that may be inside the clam. Soak for about 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and set aside.
Heat a deep pan with a touch of olive oil and add three hot sausage links with casings removed. Start to break up and brown. When sausage is almost browned, add 1 minced shallot and 5 to 7 minced garlic cloves along with a few dashes of red pepper flakes. Add about 15 cherry tomatoes cut in half and allow to cook down for about 5 minutes.
Add 1 1/2 small bottles of clam juice along with 1 1/2 tiny bottles of Sambucca. Increase the heat to where the sauce is just under a boil. Add the clams and cover with lid. Have a bowl handy to start removing clams as they open. Once all clams have opened and been removed, reduce the heat to medium and add about a Cup of heavy whipping cream. Taste the sauce and see if you need additional Sambucca or cream. Sauce will have a spicy/sweet taste. Add about 5 basil leaves chiffonade. Stir the sauce and allow the cream to warm up...about 4 minutes. Add the clams back in to the sauce and allow to heat up for about a minute or so. I also add a few cans of really good chopped clams at this point. Feel free to leave them out. I just love a lot of clams with my pasta. Have your favorite pasta cooked and ready in a bowl. I used linguine for this recipe. You can also forgo the pasta and just serve the clams in this sauce with crusty bread. Pour the sauce on top of the pasta and add fresh chopped parsley and a bit more basil. It's that easy...ENJOY!