5 to 8 pounds littlenecks in the shell to equal 1 pound fresh minced
1/4 cup Filippo Berio olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced into rounds
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon hot red pepper paste
1 1/3 cups white wine
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Zest and juice of one large lemon
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 cups clam juice
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
Scrub the clams well and discard any cracked or open ones. Place them in a large sauté pan and add 1/2 cup of the wine. Cover and bring to a boil; lower the heat to medium low and cook until all the clams open; discard any that do not. Strain the clams over a bowl. Reserve the clam juice.
When cool enough to handle, reserve 12 clams in the shell and set aside. Remove the remaining clams from their shells, pull off their dark beards and discard them. Coarsely chop the clams, place in a bowl and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large size sauté pan over medium heat and add the leeks. Cook until they begin to soften. Stir in the garlic and pepper paste and cook a couple of minutes. Raise the heat to high and add 1/3 cup of the wine and allow most of it to evaporate.
Lower the heat to medium. Add the parsley, lemon juice and zest, oregano, remaining 1/2 cup of wine and clam juice. Cook for a few minutes. Add the minced clams and cook for a couple of minutes. Taste for seasoning. Cover and keep warm while the spaghetti cooks.
Cook the spaghetti in 4 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente.
Drain and add the spaghetti to the pan with the clam sauce. Re-heat slowly over medium heat then transfer to a serving platter and top with more chopped parsley and decorate with the reserved whole clams in the shell.
This recipe is featured on show 2213 – Clams – Le Vongole.
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