Serve this with a chilled Pinot Grigio - mmmm. perfection!
Dreaming about a crystal platter that holds sweet clams with smoky, crunchy bacon, garlic infused white wine and a bit of melted cheese nestled on a shell? Well dream no longer as we turn the famous appetizer into a yummy, one pan dinner for four.
2 cups littleneck clams
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large shallot, minced
6 bacon strips, chopped
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 lbs cooked campanelle pasta
8 oz spinach (fresh or frozen), chopped *
6 oz Pinot Grigio (or your favorite white wine)
6 oz clam juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons fine Italian bread crumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Place a large sauté pan on medium heat for one minute to preheat it and then add chopped bacon. Stir occasionally until bacon is golden brown, crispy and cooked through. When the bacon fat’s bubbling begins to slow and the bacon is browned, it’s almost done cooking. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan and drain on some paper towels. Pour off excess bacon grease and return pan to heat.
Add shallots and cook until slightly softened and then add garlic. Cook for another three to four minutes stirring occasionally. Add clam juice and white wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan and loosen the bits of bacon that caramelized. Simmer, uncovered, for five to ten minutes more to slightly reduce the sauce.
Add spinach, herbes de Provence and pasta to the pan and stir to combine and heat through. During the last few minutes of cooking time add clams, cheese and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remember that the cheese and bacon already add some saltiness to the dish. To serve, sprinkle each portion with some bread crumbs and a squeeze of lemon.
* If using frozen spinach, defrost it completely and squeeze out the excess water in a colander or cheesecloth.