Inevitably one day I looked at the classic Portuguese dish ameijoas na cataplana and wanted to turn it into a pasta. Sausage, steamed clams, wine, tomatoes, and herbs make it a natural. You can vary the ethnic flavors by changing the sausage and herbs. For Italy use fennel sausage and rosemary. For Spain, chorizo and oregano. And for Portugal, linguisa and cilantro. You may augment the sauce with a pinch of hot pepper flakes and any extra garlic is up to you.
Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring constantly, until browned. Add the onions and cook until tender. Stir in the tomato sauce, garlic, and herb; heat through.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, if you want perfect control and don’t mind dirtying another pan, put the clams and wine in a second sauté pan, steam them open, and stir into the sauce. Or live dangerously and stir the wine into the tomato sauce, add the clams, and steam them open in the sauce.
Drain the pasta and transfer to a pasta bowl. Add the sauce and quickly toss to combine, lifting most of the clams to the top. Sprinkle with the parsley. Serve hot. No cheese.
© 1998 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.