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Friday, November 10, 2006
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Penne with Manila Clams and Chorizo Sauce
Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook
by Alfred Portale, 1997, Doubleday
appetizer or 4 main-course servings
“One of the most exciting developments in American cuisine has been the
incorporation of international influences into our nation’s culinary
consciousness – a fitting reflection of our melting-pot heritage. This recipe is
a good example of a Portuguese-influenced dish (a departure for me), as well as
an illustration of how to turn a culinary experience into the inspiration for a
new dish of your own.
In the mid-1980s I spent time vacationing in the Algarve, the coastal fishing
region in the south of Portugal. Just about every night, we sat down to eat at a
dockside restaurant on the pier that served simple grilled fish and an immensely
satisfying native dish called ‘cataplana’, a garlicky pork and clam stew served
in a hinged copper cooking vessel. The wait staff would deliver this sealed to
the table and open it like a giant clam shell, releasing a burst of steam
emanating the rich aromas of seafood and spices.
It occurred to me that this ingenious combination of pork and clams, brimming
with spicy, bold flavors, would make a fun and unconventional pasta sauce. To
accompany it, I settled on penne; with its ridged surface and short length, it
makes an ideal vehicle for the sauce and its size complements the pieces of
chorizo and seafood, allowing each mouthful to include morsels of all three.”
Thinking Ahead: The sauce may be made the morning before the day of final
preparation, covered, and refrigerated.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 cups dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
5 dozen Manila or 3 dozen littleneck clams, well scrubbed
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion,
celery, garlic and parsley. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened,
about 3 minutes. Add the wine and peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat
and cook until the wine is reduced by approximately one third, about 10 minutes.
Add the clams and cover. Cook until the clams open, 3 to 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a small bowl. When cool enough to
handle, remove the meat, discarding the shells, and set the meat aside. Let the
clam broth stand for 10 minutes, then decant it through a wire strainer into
another bowl, leaving any sand behind. Set the clam broth aside.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces chorizo or other spicy smoked sausage,
sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 medium celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
One 28-ounce can imported Italian plum tomatoes, chopped, with their juice
2 ounces smoked ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 sprig thyme
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook,
stirring often, until the sausage is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the onion, carrot, and celery and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook,
stirring often, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, 3 to 5
minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the reserved clam broth, the
tomatoes with their juice, the ham, thyme, bay leaf, and crushed red pepper;
bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until
reduced by about one fourth, approximately 40 minutes. Taste and season with
salt and pepper.
1 pound dried penne
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
In a large pot
of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain
well and transfer to a warmed serving bowl.
If necessary, reheat the sauce. Just before serving, add the clams. Pour the
sauce over the pasta, add the parsley and basil, and toss well. Serve in
individual soup bowls.
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