Clams and pasta are a natural fit and one of my favorite summertime pairings. Serving six to eight people, this delicious recipe, authored by my wife, Felicia Scocozza, is perfect for sharing with friends and should leave you with plenty of left-overs for a follow-up lunch. Using fresh-caught clams you gathered yourself makes it even more special. Little neck and top neck are the ideal size clams for this tasty treat – and don’t forget the crusty bread. Enjoy!
Serves: 6 – 8
- 4 oz. bacon
- 1 lb. linguine
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 shallot chopped
- 1 6 oz. jar artichoke hearts quartered
- 1 14 oz. can fire roasted chopped tomatoes (or 2 cups roasted grape tomatoes – we always have some in our freezer on hand from our summer garden)
- 1 cup dry white wine or clam juice
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2-3 lb. little neck or top neck clams, scrubbed
- zest of one lemon
- juice of one lemon
- additional parsley for garnish
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water.
- Cook bacon until crisp. Discard all but 1 tbsp. bacon fat.
- In a small skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter on medium until melted. Add half of garlic and cook, stirring, until light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Stir in breadcrumbs until well-coated and fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in parsley, bacon and Parmesan; set aside.
- In a large, heavy deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat remaining 1 tbsp butter on medium until melted. Add remaining half of garlic, shallot and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Stir in artichokes, tomatoes, and wine (or clam juice) and increase heat to medium-high. Cook until liquid reduces by half, about 1 minute. Add broth and clams and bring to boil. Cover and cook, stirring once, until clams open, 5 to 10 minutes; discard any clams that remain closed.
- Toss drained pasta with pasta water and remaining Parmesan cheese, place in a large bowl and add clam mixture and juices. Add lemon zest and juice and toss to coat. Stir in half of breadcrumb mixture. Sprinkle remaining breadcrumb mixture over the clams and pasta. Sprinkle with additional parsley for garnish if desired.
Note: Unlike baking, cooking is not an exact science. Readers are encouraged to adjust and modify these recipes to their own tastes.
By Tom Schlichter
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