Last week, I posted a Monday Meal blog about how to make orecchiette ("little ears") pasta from scratch. For that recipe, click here. This week, we'll put the pasta to use, cooking it up with luscious clams.
Of course, you could use any dried, store-bought pasta for the recipe and it'll taste great. But, freshly made pasta -- especially orecchiette -- will bring sensational results.
12 oz. orecchiette pasta, preferably fresh
3 dozen Littleneck or Manila clams
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 Tbs. minced shallot
1 Tbs. minced garlic
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves or 3/4 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. crushed red chili peppers
1 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tsp. minced fresh oregano or 3/4 tsp. dried
Cook the orecchiette in a large pot of boiling water until al dente (firm to the bite). Drain the pasta.
Return the orecchiette to its cooking pot and toss with the olive oil, parsley, and oregano. Set aside.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine the clams, wine, shallot, garlic, thyme, red chilies. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook until the clams open -- about eight minutes.
Add the cooked and drained orecchiette to the pot with the clams and stir to blend. Continue to cook over medium-high heat to allow the pasta to absorb some of the clam juices, about three more minutes. Sprinkle with the black pepper.
Serve with a discard bowl for the clam shells.