Recipe: Linguine with clams, pancetta and chiles

A spiced-up linguine with clam sauce has a dash of Molina’s sensibility.
(Mark Boster / LAT)

Total time: 50 minutes

Servings: 6 as a main course; 8 as a pasta course

Note: Adapted from Matt Molina of Osteria Mozza. The ‘pesto’ recipe makes slightly more sauce than is needed for the pasta recipe.

Red chile ‘pesto’

6 red jalapeños, coarsely chopped with seeds

1/2 red onion, diced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

In a food processor, coarsely purée the chiles, onion and salt. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a trickle to make a coarse sauce. Makes about 1 cup.

Linguine and assembly

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 pound pancetta, diced

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

3/4 cup red chile “pesto”

1/2 cup white wine

4 pounds manila clams, scrubbed

3/4 pound linguine

1/2 cup sliced Italian parsley

3/4 cup (loosely packed) sliced green onions

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil with the pancetta over medium heat and cook until the pancetta is crisp and lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain off half of the rendered fat and add the garlic. Cook until it is light golden brown, 3 minutes. Stir in the red chile “pesto,” white wine and clams. Cover the pan and cook until all of the clams have opened, 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

2. While the clams are cooking, cook the pasta in a large pot of rapidly boiling, salted water until it is just al dente, 8 minutes.

3. Drain the pasta and add it to the clams. Place over high heat, ladle in one-half cup of the pasta cooking water and cook, stirring to mix well. Stir in the parsley and green onions over high heat; serve immediately.

Each of 8 servings: 408 calories; 20 grams protein; 36 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 19 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 38 mg. cholesterol; 422 mg. sodium.