Linguine with Clams in Pepper Broth

4 Serves

Crushed black pepper and red-chile flakes kick-start a fragrant, salty clam broth. The robust flavor of clams thrives on heat and spice, with pasta and pancetta acting as a buffer zone.


  • Coarse salt

  • ½ pound dried linguine

  • 2 ounces pancetta, cut into ½-inch cubes (½ cup)

  • 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tablespoon chopped, for garnish

  • 5 garlic cloves, minced

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 2 pounds Manila clams or cockles, scrubbed well

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water.

  2. Meanwhile, cook pancetta in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon, and let drain.

  3. Return saucepan to medium-low heat, and add 2 tablespoons butter, the parsley, garlic, 2 teaspoons pepper, and the red-pepper flakes. Cook until garlic is soft and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add wine and clams, and bring to a simmer. Cover, and cook until clams have opened, about 5 minutes (discard any unopened clams). Add linguine, reserved cooking water, pancetta, remaining tablespoon butter, and the lemon zest. Toss to combine. Season with pepper, and garnish with parsley.

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