Linguine with Clams and Chorizo
2 to 2 ½ lb. (1 kg.) Manila clams (this is what I can find in the Mont-Saint-Michel bay) or littleneck or cherrystone clams (about 50 to 60 small clams)
½ lb. (250 g.) linguine
3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
2 to 3 oz. chorizo sausage, finely diced
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
¼ cup dry white wine
2 Tbs. or more chopped fresh parsley
SCRUB the clams well with a brush. (If you’ve dug the clams yourself, you can purge them in a large bucket of sea water or highly salted water in the fridge for a few hours overnight.) Drain, and transfer to a medium pot or Dutch oven. Cover, and steam the clams over high heat until they all open, stirring and shaking the pot occasionally. Transfer the clams to a bowl with a slotted spoon, then strain the liquid through a strainer lined with cheesecloth (classic option) or a nylon nut milk bag (my favorite option) to get rid of any dirt or grit. Set the clams and liquid aside. At this point, you can remove the clams from their shells for easier eating; I prefer them in the shells so they don’t all sink to the bottom of the pasta bowl.
COOK the linguine according to package directions in a large pot of boiling salted water.
MEANWHILE, wipe out the large pot used to steam the clams, and heat 1 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced chorizo, and sauté 2 to 3 minutes, or until just crisp (don’t let it burn). Transfer the cooked chorizo to a paper towel with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
ADD the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil to the pot. Sauté the shallot in the olive oil 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the garlic, then add the white wine; simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
DRAIN the pasta, and reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking water.
ADD ½ cup of the clam cooking liquid and ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water to the shallots. Taste and adjust the seasonings by adding more clam cooking liquid or pasta water –the sauce should taste salty and a little spicy. Return the cooked clams and chorizo to the pot, and heat over high heat until everything is heated through. Stir in the linguine. Serve with grated cheese (Gruyère or Parmesan) and ground pepper. Serves 3 to 4