Linguine with Clams and Romesco

SERVES: 4

Since littlenecks vary in size, have your fishmonger weigh the 3 dozen clams. You might need to increase the number of clams you purchase to hit 5 pounds. Go for larger clams if possible, so as to maximize the amount of clam-y, brine-y liquor that’ll ultimately wind up in your sauce.

This is the moment to use the best cherry tomatoes you can find. Sungolds are at their peak right now, and if you can source them at a farmer’s market you will not regret it.

Active Time: 1 hr 15 Mins

Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins

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Produce

  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes

Pantry

  • 8 ounces jarred roasted red bell peppers, drained (1 heaping cup from a 12 ounce jar)
  • Heaping ⅓ cup roasted unsalted almonds
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for serving
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
  • 12 ounces linguini

Dairy

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

FISH

  • 5 pounds clams (preferably littleneck)

1. Make the romesco:

  • Finely grate 1 clove of garlic and add it to the bowl of a food processor or blender, along with 3 roasted red peppers, a heaping 1/3 cup roasted unsalted almonds, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt. Process until a loose, chunky sauce forms. Don’t overdo it! Retaining some of the texture of the nuts here is what you want.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and season generously with salt.

3. Prep and steam the clams:

  • Scrub clams well with a bristled brush or the scrubby side of a clean sponge.

     

  • Thinly slice 12 cloves of garlic.

     

  • Pick enough leaves from a bunch of flat leaf parsley to measure 1 cup lightly packed leaves and roughly chop.

     

  • Heat a large pot or Dutch oven with a tightly fitting lid over medium. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. When butter melts, add sliced garlic and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes and sauté, stirring frequently, until garlic is softened and the first piece or two just begins to turn golden, about 3-4 minutes. Add ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, stir to distribute, and let toast until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase heat to high and add clams and ½ cup dry white wine or vermouth. Top with the lid, shake pan to distribute clams in an even layer, and let steam. After 5 minutes, take a peek under the lid and remove any opened clams to a bowl. Continue steaming and removing clams as they open, checking under the lid every 1-2 minutes, until all clams have opened, about 11-13 minutes total. Discard any unopened clams. Keep cooking liquid warm, over low heat.

4. Cook the pasta and finish it up:

  • Add 12 ounces of linguini to the boiling water and stir to distribute. Cook 1-2 minutes less than package directions, draining pasta just before al dente.

     

  • While pasta cooks, halve 1½ cups cherry tomatoes.

     

  • Remove clams from shells. Discard shells, pouring any accumulated cooking liquid from the bowl back into the pot of clam jus. Add romesco to the pot and whisk to distribute. Season to taste with salt, keeping in mind that the sauce will likely be well-salted naturally from the clams. Add more red pepper flakes if desired.

     

  • Add drained pasta to the pot and toss to distribute. Add 1 tablespoon butter, and cook over medium heat to allow pasta to absorb some sauce, 1-2 minutes. Return clams to pot, along with halved tomatoes and chopped parsley.

     

  • Distribute pasta among serving bowls, drizzle with a bit of additional olive oil, and serve.

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