Weeknight Linguini con Vongole for Two
Director of House Operations and House Events, James Beard Foundation, NYC
For Victoria Jordan, director of operations and events at the James Beard House, this recipe guarantees a quick stop for ingredients at Citarella and a finished meal in 30 minutes after getting home. She prefers to prepare the dish with cockles, which are smaller and sweeter than clams. For variations on this dish, try adding sliced, roasted red peppers or a handful of raw baby spinach.
- 2 dozen (about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds) cockles or clams
- 1/2 pound linguine
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 links (about 4 to 6 ounces) Mexican chorizo, casing removed
- 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
- 2 to 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup white wine, beer, or chicken stock
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs or finely chopped toasted almonds (optional)
Submerge the cockles in a large bowl filled with cold water. Soak for 10 minutes, then drain. Scrub under cold water and set aside.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook the linguine according to the package directions.
While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large, straight-sided pan with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and break it up with the back of a spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until brown, about 6 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot and set aside.
Add the wine, beer, or chicken stock to the chorizo and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the reserved cockles, cover, and steam until they open, about 3 to 5 minutes. Discard any cockles that didn’t open.
Add the cockles, chorizo, reserved pasta water, and parsley to the pasta. Stir to combine.
To serve, divide the contents of the pot among serving bowls. Top each serving with toasted bread crumbs or almonds, if using.