Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Linguine with Clams, Mussels and Bacon

Sometimes you just get a craving for some really good pasta that's super flavorful but not too complicated to make.  Here's the recipe for my last craving: 

Serves 4

What you'll need:

1 lb. linguine
4 slices bacon, cut into lardons
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 cup white wine, I used Sauvignon Blanc
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/2 - 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed well
2 dozen mussels, beards removed and rinsed well
1 bunch fresh chives, sliced thin
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Place the clams and mussels in a large bowl and cover them with cold water.  Using your hands, rub off any sand.  Let them sit for a minute so the sand can fall to the bottom of the bowl.  Lift them out of the water with your hands and put them in another large bowl filled with water.  Rinse out the first bowl and fill with water again.  Rub the clams and mussels clean again and transfer to the bowl of clean water.  Repeat this process until there are no signs of sand in the bottom of the bowl.  Rinse in a colander and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Throw out any of the shellfish whose shells don't close.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In a large pot or a saute pan with high sides, add the bacon.  Turn the heat to medium and cook until the bacon gives off a lot of fat and becomes crispy.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with a paper towel.  Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan, leaving a little to coat the bottom of the pan.

Add the butter and olive oil to the bacon fat.  When the butter has melted, add the garlic.  Cook until the garlic just starts to brown.  This will happen quick, do not let it burn or get too brown.

Add the wine and scrape up all the brown bits from the bacon off the bottom of the pan.  Let the wine reduce by half then add the chicken stock and lemon juice.

When the wine and stock mixture is boiling, add the clams, mussels, most of the parsley and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cover, and let cook until all the shellfish have opened.  About 8-10 minutes.  If there are any shells that don't open, throw them out.

Drop the pasta in the pot of salted, boiling water.  Cook until al dente.

When all of the clams and mussels have opened, add the cooked pasta, bacon, lemon zest, fresh chives and the rest of the fresh parsley.  Toss everything together for about 3 minutes, allowing the pasta to soak up some of the liquid in the pot.

Serve in large bowls with a big bowl on the side for the empty shells.  Enjoy!

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