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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.
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.
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.