I've been wanting to try the Portuguese dish of pasta with clams and sausage for months now. Of course when I finally get around to making it I can't seem to remember which cookbook I had saw the recipe in. It's probably a combo of old age, and the fact that I have so many cookbooks, but I am always misplacing recipes.
Sometimes this can pose a problem....as I will plan an entire meal around a recipe I know I saw and then not be able to fine it anywhere...which means rethinking a menu. Thankfully that was not the case this time around. I was easily able to find many recipes with one quick online search. In order to round out the dish I chose a recipe that included broccoli rabe.
My quest for clams always brings me to Whole Foods Market. I love the quality and selection of their seafood. Although I've bought various meats from Whole Foods over the years I've actually never tried their sausage. This was a great opportunity. They sell several varieties but I went with the most traditional for this recipe; sweet Italian. One thing I really liked about the sausage was that you can buy it fresh and already out of the casing. This just added to the ease of the recipe.
This is quite a simple dish that comes together fairly easily and imparts tons of flavor. You will easily impress your dinner guests with this one.
Want to win a $25 Whole Foods Gift Card? Details after the recipe.
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Clams & Italian Sausage
(adapted from Tyler Florence)
1 1/2 pounds loose sweet Italian sausage, shaped into mini-meatballs
4 to 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes, or to taste
Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh thyme
30 littleneck clams, cleaned and scrubbed
2 cups dry white wine
1 pound orecchiette
2 small bunches broccoli rabe, stems removed
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
1. Set a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil.
2. Take another large saucepan (big enough to hold clams) and set over medium heat. Add some olive oil and the sausage. Cook over medium heat to render fat and get color on the sausage. Once the sausage is browned on all sides, remove and place onto a paper towel-lined plate. To the same pan, add the chopped garlic, red chili flakes and thyme leaves and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn up the heat, dump in the cleaned and scrubbed clams and white wine. Cover with a lid and steam for about 10 minutes until the clams open.
3. While clams are steaming, cook the pasta. Add orecchiette to boiling water and cook. With about 3 minutes left, add the broccoli rabe to the same pot and cook until tender. Drain pasta and broccoli and place into the saucepan with the browned sausage. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir to combine. Place into a large serving bowl.
4. Now return to the clams. Remove the lid and add the cubes of cold butter and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil as you stir. Once the sauce thickens slightly give it a final seasoning with pepper and a little salt (go easy on the salt) then take the whole pan and pour on top of the orecchiette and broccoli rabe. Shower with fresh Parmesan and parsley.
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