Linguine Vongole with Nduja and Cherry Tomatoes

Nduja is a soft, spreadable salami from the Calabria region of Italy, and is seriously hot and spicy. It is usually spread on toast or served with cheese, but can also be stirred through pasta sauces, scrambled eggs, soups and stews to add colour and warmth. Shellfish, such as clams, love a bit of heat, but the sweetness of the tomatoes keeps this dish from being over the top.


Ingredients

Serves 4

200ml dry white wine

1.5kg clams, rinsed and any closed ones discarded

3 tbsp olive oil

2 banana shallots, peeled and finely diced

6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced

80g nduja sausage

250g baby plum tomatoes, halved

400g linguine

2 small handfuls of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to serve

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

1Place a saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid over a high heat until smoking hot. Meanwhile, line a colander with muslin or a new J-cloth and sit it over another pan.

2Pour the wine into the smoking pan, add the clams, then cover with the lid and cook for 3–4 minutes, until the clams have opened. Strain through the prepared colander.

3Place a large sauté pan over a medium heat, add the olive oil and shallots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

4Increase the heat, add the nduja and break it up with a spoon. Cook for another 2 minutes, then pour in the clam liquor and cook for 5 minutes, before adding the tomatoes.

5Bring a kettle of water to the boil, then pour it into a saucepan, season with salt and return to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes, or until al dente.

6While the sauce is simmering and the pasta is cooking, pick the meat from all but a dozen or so of the clams.

7When the pasta is ready, drain in a colander, reserving the cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce along with a ladleful of the reserved water, the clam meat and the parsley. Toss the pan well in order to coat the pasta with the sauce.

8Season to taste, then serve in warm bowls, garnished with the clams in their shells and some extra parsley.

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