You guys. This pasta is so delicious...and it's not nearly as hard to cook as it might seem! Is it just me, or does shellfish make anything seem fancier? Well the clams in this pasta seem fancy and decadent and worthy of company, but you can totally whip this up at the end of a beach day, as I have the two times I made it for friends. You don't need much with it to make a meal of it, either - maybe a caprese or simple chopped salad and some crusty bread. Add a crisp white wine and a summer sunset, and you have yourself a perfect evening, bright and briny and zesty like a day at the beach.
PASTA WITH CLAMS AND CHILES (from Saveur) I like to make like an Italian and call it Linguine con Vongole because...doesn't that sound festive?
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 lb. pasta, preferably linguine
- 1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 4 oz. pancetta, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 Fresno or Holland chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 3⁄4 lbs. littleneck clams (about 30), scrubbed clean
- 1⁄3 cup dry white wine
- 3 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until just al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1⁄2 cup pasta water, and set aside. Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until just crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a paper towel; set aside.
- Return skillet to medium heat and add garlic and half the chiles; cook, stirring often, until garlic is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add clams and wine, increase heat to high, and cook, covered, swirling pan occasionally, until clams open and release their juices, 5–10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer clams to a plate; set aside. Bring sauce to a boil over high heat, return pancetta to pan, and add reserved pasta and 1⁄4 cup cooking liquid. Cook, tossing pasta occasionally, until sauce clings to pasta, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in some more of the pasta cooking water if the pasta seems dry. Add 2 tbsp. parsley, season with salt, and toss to combine. Transfer pasta to a serving bowl, arrange clams over pasta, and pour any clam juices from the plate over pasta. Drizzle pasta with more olive oil and garnish with remaining chiles and parsley.
I don't have more photos because, well, I was eating it.
(photo, Jamie Grill Photography)