Linguine with Manila Clams, Pancetta, and Hot Chiles

The smokey taste of pancetta bacon with the spiciness of the red peppers is a perfect complement to the tender sweet clams. Serve with a bottle of chilled Oregon pinto gris!

Serves 4 as a main course

Ingredients

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, minced
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 sliced red jalapeno peppers, stemmed and seeds removed (or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
2 1/2 pounds manila clams, scrubbed and rinsed
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound linguine
1 bunch Italian or flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Bring 6 quarts water to boil; add 2 tablespoons salt.

In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat; sauté pancetta until browned and crisp. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with a paper towel and let cool. The pan should have some oil and tiny browned bits of pancetta left in it for the next step.

Add chopped onions, peppers and garlic to the pan and saute over medium heat until limp but not browned. Add the clams, butter and the wine and cook covered until all clams have opened. Take off heat.

Boil linguine according to package instructions. When just short of al dente, drain in colander over sink saving 1/2 cup of pasta water; toss linguine into pan with clams, and stir gently to mix adding pasta water. Add chopped parsley and pancetta and pour into a warm serving bowl.

Thanks to Kristin Frost Albrecht for this recipe.

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