Spicy Clam Pasta With Bacon, Peas and Basil
In a pinch, canned baby clams make a very decent pasta ingredient. There is great variation between different brands of canned clams — some are not salty at all, so bear that in mind when seasoning. The liquid in the cans is not needed here, but you may save it for another purpose if you wish.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1cup basil leaves, loosely packed, plus some pretty ones reserved for garnish
- 1cup Italian parsley leaves, loosely packed
- 2small garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and pepper
- ¼cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6ounces bacon, cut into lardons
- 2(10-ounce) cans baby clams, drained
- 1teaspoon finely chopped serrano chile
- Pinch of red-pepper flakes
- 1cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1pound spaghetti
- Lemon wedges
Step 1Put basil, parsley and garlic in a mortar or food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste and 1/4 cup oil. Pound or whiz to obtain a bright green purée.
Step 2Put a pot of water on to boil and make it very salty. (It will boil faster with the lid on.)
Step 3Over medium heat, render bacon in its own fat until browned and crisp but not hard, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour off fat but leave a small amount in the pan, just to coat the bottom.
Step 4Increase heat to medium-high, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the clams, serrano chile and red pepper. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring and coating clams well. Add peas and warm through, then turn off heat.
Step 5Boil pasta and cook until slightly underdone. Drain pasta and add to pan with clams. Turn heat to medium-high and stir all together. Add a splash of pasta water, if it seems dry. Add basil purée and toss well. Top with bacon and reserved basil leaves. Pass lemon wedges.