Clams and Pasta
This simple recipe can be made with fresh or canned clams and either fresh or dried pasta. For best results use the freshest ingredients. I specified using natural bacon with no added nitrates or nitrites, which is getting much easier to find in mainstream grocery stores. Try it and you won't go back to regular bacon. The natural stuff without the chemicals tastes better! You can make this with shrimp instead of clams if you like, also. It's a great combination of flavors for a satisfying dish.
9-ounce fresh pasta or dried linguine 4 slices natural uncured bacon with no added nitrates or nitrites 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic 1 teaspoon dried basil or 6 leaves fresh basil 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 cup clam juice 1/2 cup white wine 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
4 dozen littleneck or mahogany clams, shells washed in clean water with a quick scrub -or- 2 (6 1/2-ounce) cans minced clams, drained
Cook bacon until crisp in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Remove bacon from pan, and crumble. Reserve 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Add garlic and basil; sauté for 30 seconds. Add bacon, lemon juice, red pepper, black pepper, clams, clam juice, and wine. If using fresh clams the clams will open up when they are done. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook pasta in unsalted water, according to directions while the clam mixture is cooking, timed so they finish together. Don't overcook your clams. Drain well.
Combine the pasta and clam mixture, and toss well. Sprinkle with cheese.