TT Test Kitchen Tip: Fregola, a tiny, semolina pasta from Sardinia, is formed by hand and lightly toasted until golden. Its texture is chewy and the flavor nutty, ideal for playing off the briny flavor of clams in this Sardinian-inspired dish.
Fregola con Vongole (Pasta with Clams)
Yield: 4 servings
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds small Manila clams, scrubbed and rinsed well
1 cup dry white wine
1 small lemon, finely zested
2 cups chicken stock, warmed
1 cup fregola
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, sliced thinly
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds Add the clams, ½ cup of the wine and lemon zest and cover. Cook over medium heat until the clam shells open, about 8 to 10 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open, and remove the clams from the cooking liquid. Reserve both the clams and the liquid separately. Shuck half of the clams, coarsely chop and reserve.
2. Strain the pan juices and place in a clean skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken stock and the remaining ½ cup wine and bring to a boil. Stir in the fregola, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently until the fregola is just tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and chopped clams. Top with reserved whole clams, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.