100 Favorite Dishes: No. 76 -- Linguine Vongole From Il Bellagio

As a countdown to the Best of Broward Palm Beach 2011,

coming in June, Clean Plate Charlie is serving up a hundred of our favorite dishes in South Florida.

Send your own nominations to Deirdra.Funcheon@BrowardPalmBeach.com.

Il Bellagio in CityPlace has plenty to offer with its mainly made-to-order menu. From fresh breads and pizzas straight out of the wood-burning brick oven to the homemade desserts and pastas prepared by the owner's family, Bellagio has authentic Italian piazza written all over it.

A steadfast favorite among its traditional-style fare: the simple -- yet classic -- linguine vongole ($13.95 for lunch/$16.95 for dinner). At Bellagio, the clam sauce is served two ways -- either a red tomato base or white wine and olive oil. Although the fresh tomato sauce holds its own, the white wine clam sauce remains a consistent crowd pleaser.

Bellagio starts this dish from scratch, combining the basics -- clams, garlic, white wine, olive oil, and spices -- to make a fragrant, flavorful dish. Dense enough to mop up with bread, it's not the typical watery gloss of sauce you'll find at other establishments.

The chef's key to making linguine with clams, according to the owner, is in the pasta preparation. By slightly undercooking the linguine, it's able to lock in flavor -- soaking up every ingredient as the chef finishes cooking both pasta and sauce together in the pan. From there, it's just a matter of plating -- with another hearty helping of fresh shell-in clams, of course.

600 S. Rosemary Ave.
West Palm Beach

Previous 100 favorite dishes:

No 77: Housemade Charcuterie from Market 17

No. 78: Crab Benedict from the Downtowner Saloon

No. 79: The Aileen Special from Undergrounds Coffeehaus
No. 80: Insalata Caprese at Fiorentina
No. 81: Angus and Brie Burger from Gilbert's 17th Street Grill

No. 82: Pulled Pork Sliders from Gratify American GastroPub

No. 83: Fagottini al Tartufo Bianco e Nero From Apicius Ristorante e Enoteca
No. 84: Guacamole from Dos Caminos
No. 85: Rock Shrimp from Bahama Mama
No. 86: The Grease Beast at Grease Burger

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