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    LINGUINE WITH CLAMS AND PANCETTA
    from "Mrs. Witty's Home-Style Menu Cookbook" by Helen Witty

    Pasta with white clam sauce—"white" meaning the sauce has no tomatoes—was an Italian dish that quickly won my Californian heart when I explored now-forgotten New York City restaurants during my student days at Columbia University. As soon as I had a kitchen (so-called) of my own, no time was lost in recreating the dish, although canned clams were mostly what I could get in the neighborhood. Once in a while they were razor clams from Oregon, vastly better than common kinds and now a real rarity. Later, during my first summers on eastern Long Island, I often went clam digging in local bays and used the Easter quahogs I was able to capture in still more versions of this quick and delectable dish.

    Serves 4 to 6
    INGREDIENTS (CLICK TO BUY)

    For the pasta
    1 pound linguine or regular spaghetti, preferably imported

    For the sauce
    1/4 pound pancetta, diced, or 1/4 pound (about 6 slices) thick-cut bacon, blanched and diced (see note)
    2 tablespoons mild olive oil or vegetable oil
    6 tender scallions, sliced, with a little of the green tops
    3 large cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    1 cup chopped freshly steamed hard clams* (about 18 good-sized Cherrystones or small chowders), juice reserved or two 10-ounce cans (or three 6-to-7 ounce cans) chopped clams, liquid reserved
    1 to 1 1/2 cups, as needed, clam broth
    Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/4 cup minced parsley

    * FreshDirect Note: When cherrystone clams are unavailable, we may substitute cockles or another suitable clam.

    Print recipe
    PREPARATION

    In its most basic version, it requires only olive oil, garlic, clams, fresh pepper, parsley and pasta. The recipe here is gussied up a little when additions of pancetta — unsmoked Italian bacon — a little white wine, and scallions. (If you'd like to try the basic recipe, sauté the garlic — I'd use more than the recipe lists if the scallions are omitted — add clam juice, simmer briefly, add clams, butter, and parsley, simmer again, and there you are.)
    Cook linguine according to package directions until just tender, about 10 minutes.
    While the pasta cooks, make the sauce: cook the pancetta or bacon pieces in 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy skillet over medium or low heat, stirring, until golden, 5 to 8 minutes; do not brown. Lift the pieces from the fat and reserve them.
    Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan; add the remaining oil, scallions, and garlic and cook, stirring, over medium heat until wilted but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the wine; simmer a moment; add the clams and their liquid and the additional broth and simmer briskly for 2 or 3 minutes to reduce the sauce lightly. Return the pancetta or bacon.
    Spoon about one — third of the sauce into the beaker of a blender or food processor and whirl it to a purée; return the purée to the sauce. Stir in the pepper, butter, and parsley; reheat the sauce without boiling it and keep it warm if it's not used at once.
    Drain the linguine thoroughly. Ladle some of the sauce into a warmed serving bowl. Add the linguine; toss briefly, add the remaining sauce, and toss thoroughly with two forks. Serve at once, or cover and let marinate for a minute or two, especially if the sauce is quite liquid.
    A Trick Worth Remembering
    Other pasta dishes as well as this one are all the better for it if you purée part of the sauce, which helps the chunky elements to cling to the pasta strands instead of slipping off. Further, it does nothing but good to let the sauced hot pasta rest for two or three minutes, covered, before it's served; the strands can then imbibe some of the sauce and gain character in the interval between the pot and the plate.
    Note
    Blanching Smoked Bacon: If thick-cut bacon replaces the pancetta, simmer the slices in a quart of water for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse, and pat dry with paper toweling; dice and proceed with the recipe.


    Product nutrition and information
     Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
      Barilla Linguine - $1.59/ea
     16oz
     
      Wild Local Cherrystone Clams - $0.49/ea
     
     
    Citterio Premium Pancetta, Cut to Order - $11.99/lb
     Extra Thick
     
      Scallions - $1.89/ea Save! 2 for $3.00
     5.5oz, Farm Fresh, bunch
     
      Varanda do Conde Vinho Verde - $14.99/ea plus tax Save! Just $13.49 each when you buy 6 or more.
     750ml
     
      Italian Parsley - $1.99/ea
     Farm Fresh
     
      Roland Clam Juice - $2.79/ea
     8oz
     
    You May Already Have
      O-Live & Co. Extra-Virgin Premium Olive Oil - $8.99/ea
     25oz
     
      Garlic - $3.99/lb
     Farm Fresh, Med
     
      FreshDirect Tellicherry Peppercorns - $3.79/ea
     2.25oz
     
      Breakstone's All-Natural Unsalted Butter - $2.49/ea
     2 sticks  
     
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