I first met Loukie Werle ten years ago when we were both working on Australian Table magazine. Her food writing (like her food) is clean, clever and delicious. Just like this quick recipe which comes from her latest book launched just last week. Pasta Rustica was published by Pennypig and is available via her website.
Linguine with ‘the clams that got away’
Exhausted and famished, after a touristy morning at the Vatican, I gratefully sank down in one of the comfortable chairs at Gran Sasso in Rome and ordered the first delectable item that sprang off the menu: something with ‘vongole’. So I was rather surprised when my plate arrived, smelling heavenly, but not a clam in sight. I asked the waiter and with a typically roman shrug of the shoulders he informed me, already busily walking back to his station, that these were the ‘clams that got away”. Nonetheless, this pasta was so fabulous, I’ve often made it since – the flavours suggest the presence of clams. Recipe follows below picture.
30g pancetta, coarsely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
small handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, no stalks
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 large, vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons salt
500g dried linguine
Combine the pancetta and garlic and parsley in a small processor and whiz until you have a paste. Combine with the oil in a small frying pan and set over moderate heat until the mixture is fragrant, but not colouring. Stir in chilli and set aside. Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving a small jugful of the cooking water. Transfer pasta to the bowl with tomatoes, add the contents of the small frying pan and a little of the cooking water to moisten, if necessary. Toss well and serve immediately, in deep, heated plates. Serves 4-6