Penne with Manila Clams and Chorizo Sauce

Penne with Manila Clams and Chorizo Sauce

For Clams:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 cups dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
5 dozen Manila or 3 dozen littleneck clams, well scrubbed
For Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces chorizo or other spicy smoked sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 medium celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 (28-ounce) can imported Italian plum tomatoes, chopped, with their juice
2 ounces smoked ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 sprig thyme
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
For Assembly:
1 pound dried penne
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

FOR CLAMS: In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion,
celery, garlic, and parsley. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is
softened, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and peppercorns. Bring to a boil
over high heat and cook until the wine is reduced by approximately one
third, about 10 minutes. Add the clams and cover. Cook until the clams open,
3 to 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a small bowl. When cool
enough to handle, remove the meat, discarding the shells, and set the meat
aside. Let the clam broth stand for 10 minutes, then decant it through a
wire strainer into another bowl, leaving any sand behind. Set the clam broth

FOR SAUCE: In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the
chorizo and cook, stirring often, until the sausage is lightly browned,
about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and reduce the heat to
medium-low. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened but not
browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the
reserved clam broth, the tomatoes with their juice, the ham, thyme, bay
leaf, and crushed red pepper; bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and
simmer until reduced by about one fourth, approximately 40 minutes. Taste
and season with salt and pepper.

TO ASSEMBLE: In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until
al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a warmed serving bowl.

If necessary, reheat the sauce. Just before serving, add the clams. Pour
the sauce over the pasta, add the parsley and basil, and toss well. Serve in
individual soup bowls.