I adapted this recipe for Linguine with Clam Sauce and Pancetta from the book “Heat” by Bill Burford. If you like cooking, this is a must-read book. You can literally feel the heat of the kitchen as you read through the book. The original recipe is found on pages 129 to 131 in the softbound edition of “Heat.” This is a fairly easy and quick home-cooking recipe, but the results are spectacular.
You really need to get some fresh linguine for this recipe; it is the key. We have a couple of markets near us that carry packaged fresh linguine in the cold section, but we prefer heading off a few miles to buy it fresh at Pasta Pasta in San Mateo at 125 E. 4th Street. They make it there daily along with a variety of sauces.
Linguine with Clam Sauce and Pancetta Ingredients:
- 12 oz of fresh linguine
- 2 TBS of olive oil
- 2 oz of pancetta, diced into ¼ inch pieces
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ cup of red onion, diced small
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup of dry white wine
- 2 TBS of butter
- 1 and 1/2 dozen littleneck clams, or more if desired
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
Boil water for pasta and add enough salt so it “tastes like the ocean.”
In a pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and saute the pancetta for 3 minutes or so; then add garlic, onions and red pepper flakes. Cook fast at high heat until onions glisten.
Add the butter and the wine to stop the cooking. Add the clams and cover. Cook at high heat. In the meantime, add fresh pasta to the water and boil for the required time.
Use tongs to drip pasta over the open clams and sauce. Cook and stir a few more minutes, mixing the clams, sauce and pasta. Turn off the burner and drip olive oil over the pasta. Serve and add the fresh parsley to the dish.
Feeds four average eaters. Maybe have a salad beforehand. My wine recommendation is a lighter red wine, not big like a Zin or Cab, but a Pinot Noir or a Spanish Mencia or Grenache wine. It is the pancetta in my book that calls for the light red.