Linguine with Clams Arugula and Tomatoes

Linguine with Clams Arugula and Tomatoes
Linguine with Clams Arugula and Tomatoes
Linguine with Clams Arugula and Tomatoes
Why this recipe works: the clams get all the attention from eaters, but the real star of this dish is the wine. Dry white wine adds bright acidity to balance the brininess of the clams and the saltiness of the pancetta. The wine combines with the juices that the clams release to create a sauce for the pasta. Pancetta, an Italian unsmoked bacon, lends a rich, meaty flavor to this dish. The friend pieces sprinkled over the top of the pasta also and a welcome crisp texture. Discard any clams that do not open after 10 minutes of simmering.

Linguine with clams, arugula, and tomatoes
Ingredients: Serve 4
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 ounces pancetta, chopped
5 garlic cloves, sliced thin
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
3 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed (about 30 clams)
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes salt
1 pound linguine
4 cups baby arugula, chopped

  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and pancetta in large skillet over medium heat and cook until pancetta is crisp and browned, about 6 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to pepper towel lined plate. Discard all but 3 tablespoon fat. Add garlic and pepper flakes to skillet and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and clams to skillet, distributing clams in single layer. Increase heat to medium high, cove and cook, stirring occasionally, until clams open, 8 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer clams to large bowl, discarding any that do not open, and cover to keep warm. Add tomatoes to skillet and cook until tomatoes just begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, add linguine and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water  and  cook until pasta is al dente. Drain pasta and return to pot. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, add arugula, and toss to combine.
  4. 4 divide pasta among bowls and spoon sauce over pasta. Top with clams and sprinkle with pancetta. Serve.

Smart shopping pancetta substitute
Bacon and pancetta are both cut from belly of the pig, but the products are not identical. Bacon is cured with salt, then smoked and sliced. Pancetta is cured with salt, black pepper, and spices and rolled into a cylinder. It is never smoked. Replacing pancetta with bacon won’t ruin a dish, but because bacon is overtly smoky, many recipes recommend blanching it before substituting it for pancetta. You can blanch bacon by submerging it in boiling water for two minutes. Because blanched bacon is not as fatty as pancetta, you may need to add extra oil to the recipe.

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