Bucatini with Clams and Red Peppers

Submitted by Liz Novak on Thu, 08/08/2013 - 10:10

This is one of the recipes we used for our Clams Three Ways Meal from the other night. My mom spotted the recipe in the July issue of Food and Wine.

Food and Wine's version says it's a good recipe to use when you have a lot of red peppers. If I had a couple red peppers hanging around my kitchen, I would roast them in the oven and eat them with salt. Who goes out and buys 32 clams when they happen to have 2 extra bell peppers hanging around? Luckily we had a peck of quahogs to get through, so this recipe was perfect for us.

Here's what you need:
1/3 cup walnuts
2 large bell peppers
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 4 large garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses 1/2 tablespoon regular molasses
1 tablespoon pomegranate juice
32 littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 1/2 pound bucatini
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped flat-left parsley
1/4 cup chopped basil

And here's what you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Put the walnuts in a pan and toast them for about 12 min. When they are done, chop them up.

2. Roast the peppers in the oven until the skins are black. This takes like 30 min. Food and Wine says to let these sit in a bowl before peeling them, but I usually put them in a bag - I think this separates the skin better somehow.
Discard the skin and chop the peppers into strips.

3. In a large skillet, add the oil. Add the garlic over moderate heat until fragrant (30 sec- 1 min). Then add the peppers, tomatoes, cumin and paprika.

4. After the tomatoes have broken down a bit (about 5 min), add the orange juice, molasses and pomegranate juice. Food and Wine calls for a tablespoon of pomegranate molasses instead of the juice and reg molasses, but no one has heard of such a thing on the cape, so I substituted. Bring to a boil.

5. Add the clams, cover and cook over high heat until the shells open. This is about 6 min.

6. Meanwhile, in a pot of boiling water (with a lil salt added), cook your pasta. Food and Wine calls for a pound of bucatini, but I like my pasta saucy, so I would recommend only using a half pound.

7. Put the pasta in a dish and add the clam sauce and herbs on top.

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