You should know by now that I have a love for clams. I am always searching for new ways to enjoy them. I had some baby spinach and heirloom cherry tomatoes in the fridge that needed to be used. So, I thought how perfect to create a new pasta dish with clams. Oh, and a little bacon. When a recipe starts with bacon, it can never go wrong. This recipe for Bucatini and Clams was born. It’s definitely a keeper.
Local to Charlotte, head on over to The Carolina Meat & Fish Co. and grab a bag of littleneck, or cherrystone clams and lets get cooking. You can have a fresh meal on the table in about 30 minutes! Check out more of my amazing dishes using clams as the star of the show…click here!
Start a pot of water boiling for the pasta. Be sure to salt. Dice bacon and fry to a crisp. While the bacon is frying, clean your clams by soaking them in a bowl of water sprinkled with about a tablespoon of flour. Allow to soak for about five minutes. The clams will ingest the flour water and “spit” it out, along with any dirt inside its shell. Rinse and reserve. Discard any clams that are open. Once crispy, remove bacon from pan and allow to drain on paper towels. Remove all but about one tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan.
Dunk your pasta in the boiling water. You may be able to time everything perfectly and just transfer the finished pasta to the pan. Add the olive oil to the pan with the bacon fat. Add in the shallots, garlic and crushed red pepper. Allow to soften, not brown, for a few minutes. Add about one-half of the crisped bacon to the pan. Pour in the clam juice and wine. Allow to come to just under a boil.
Place the clams and the tomatoes in the pan. Cover and allow the clams to steam open. This should take about four to five minutes. Have a bowl ready.
As the clams start to open, remove from pan and reserve in a bowl. Discard any clams that do not open.
Add in about one ladle of the pasta water to the pan. Transfer the pasta directly to the pan from the pot with tongs. Toss to coat with the sauce. Add in the spinach and allow to wilt for just a few seconds. If you feel like you need a touch more sauce, add in just a bit more of the reserved pasta water. Transfer the reserved clams back to the pan. Spoon sauce on top to coat everything. Garnish the Bucatini with Clams with more of the crispy bacon and fresh parsley. Serve with lemon slices and crusty bread. ENJOY!!!