Last night Troy and I were suppose to go on our first date night since the pandemic started. We planned it out– we were going to go to a small restaurant, sit on the patio in the fresh air, and enjoy a glass of wine. Unfortunately my body told us otherwise and we had to stay in. To make it up to him I planned this special pasta dinner with chorizo and clams.
It is such a simple recipe and shines in its short list of ingredients. This takes 30 minutes, at most, to put together and your significant other is sure to be wowed! Clams, to me, is a date night food. I NEVER cook them on the regular so when we do have them it is pretty special.
They only need a bit of prep before you cook them, but it couldn’t be more simple. Before you begin cooking you are going to need to clean your clams. If you skip this step you will have grit and sand in your pasta…and honestly that is not the type of texture rf flavor anyone wants. To clean them follow these easy steps:
1. Place your clams in a bowl of cold water and let them sit for 20 minutes.
2. Lift them out and place them in a new bowl of cold water and let them sit for another 20 minutes. **Do not pour them into the next bowl because all the sand they have released will go with them and then really what was the point of the first step….**
3. Take them out 1 at a time and gently scrub them with a dish brush and place them into a new (and last) bowl of clean water.
Now they are ready to use 🙂
**Note** If any of your clams are open in this process and do not close with you tapping on their shell–toss them. That means they are dead and not good for eating. Also, at the end of your cooking if you have any that have not opened–toss them too.
8 oz linguine
1 1/2 dozen clams
8 oz Spanish chorizo, cubed
1 tbs olive oil
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper, plus more for garnish (this is a GREAT spice to use, but if you can not find it then use red pepper flakes)
zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
1/2 c dry white wine (I used pinot grigio)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. It should taste like the sea-that is how you know you have seasoned it correctly. Once boiling, cook your pasta according to the package directions or until al dente.
While you wait for your pasta to cook, place the olive oil in a cold skillet with the chorizo. This will help render the fat slowly out of the chorizo, and in this fat is all the tasty goodness for your sauce. Place the skillet on a burner turned to medium heat. Cook until the chorizo starts to become crispy and then remove it to a paper towel to drain.
Saute the shallots, garlic, and Aleppo pepper in the chorizo fat for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add in the lemon zest, juice from half the lemon, white wine, and clams. Place the lid on the skillet and steam for 3-5 minutes, until the clams open**.
Using tongs or a kitchen spider, add in the cooked pasta directly from the pasta water into the sauce pan. The starchy water that comes off of the pasta will help bring your sauce together. Add in half of your chorizo and remaining lemon juice and cook for 1 minute longer, tossing the pasta as you cook.
To serve: divide the pasta into two bowls and top with remaining chorizo, parsley and a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper.