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Linguine Alle Vongole at Osteria Cotta, Dish No. 23

Linguine Alle Vongole at Osteria Cotta, Dish No. 23

The world's cuisines possess too few bitter dishes -- and clams with linguine in white sauce is one of the best.

The white-sauced version of this dish, native to several regions in southern Italy, is usually made with big, rubbery minced clams, bottled clam broth, plenty of salt, and, sometimes, parsley.

At Upper West Side newcomer Osteria Cotta ("Baked Inn"), small clams in their shells replace the bigger, unshelled clams usually found, and little red plum tomatoes provide brilliant spots of color and flavor. Spectacularly, the sauce retains its bitterness from the clams, which provides a foil for the al dente linguine, which is thereby made to taste sweet. Here's a dish that tastes every bit as good as it looks.

Osteria Cotta 513 Columbus Avenue 212-873-8500

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