Michael Chiarello’s Take on One of Our Faves: Clam Pasta (He Adds Sausage)

Clam pasta is no doubt one of our favorite pasta dishes. It’s also a favorite of Michael Chiarello. The Napa chef says clam pasta with spicy sausage has been a part of his cooking repertoire for a quarter century. (Click here to see the recipe.)

“Like many of my favorite dishes, this one began with fisherman,” Chiarello writes in his cookbook Bottega (Chronicle Books, 2010), where this recipe appears. “They brought dried sausages on their boats, caught clams, and cooked the two together for supper.”

Chiarello says “you’ll find variations of this shellfish-and-cured-pork idea in China, Portugal, Spain – in just about every fishing village around the world.”

Chiarello says you can use Manila or cherrystone clams for this dish. From a sustainability standpoint, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guide lists farmed Manila clams as a “Best Choice” and wild-caught U.S. Atlantic cherrystones a “Good Alternative.”

The clams are cooked in extra virgin olive oil and garlic until open. Dry white wine is added to the pan. The cooked clams are set aside on a baking sheet. (Click here to see the recipe.)

Diced sausage, basil and black pepper are added to the pan, along with any additional juice the reserved clams have released. Partially cooked pasta also is added, along with the clams and parsley. The ingredients are tossed together and cooked until the pasta is al dente.

Chiarello suggests tossing the pasta with additional extra virgin olive oil. You could use a fruity oil like our Arbequina.

Bon appétit,

Your friends at California Olive Ranch

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