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Spaghetti with Clams and Green Beans
Lemon-flavored vodka is optional in this recipe. You can also try fresh lemon juice and sweet vermouth or white wine. Watch Pierre demonstrate this recipe on his cooking show Cuisine Rapide: Italian French American Style (scroll to minute 16:25).
INGREDIENTS18 cherrystone clams, shucked, with clam juice reserved (about 2 cups)
1 pound green beans
12 cups water
Salt to taste
1 pound imported spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
5 ripe plum tomatoes, about 1 pound, cut into ½-inch cubes
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
⅓ cup Absolut lemon vodka or regular vodka flavored with the juice of ½ lemon, optional
⅓ cup heavy cream
Freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves or ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
Freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese, optional
PREPARATION1. Chop the clams coarsely; there should be about 1 cup.
2. Trim or break off the ends of the beans and remove the strings. Cut the beans into 2"-inch lengths.
3. Bring the water, salted to taste, to a boil in a kettle and add the green beans. Bring to a simmer and cook for 6 to 7 minutes. Do not overcook; the beans should remain crisp. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid. Spaghetti should be undercooked.
4. Bring the reserved cooking liquid to boil. Add the spaghetti, stir, and cook for about 6 minutes. Drain.
5. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook briefly, stirring, without browning. Add the tomatoes, pepper flakes, and reserved clam juice. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until the liquid has been reduced to about 2 cups.
6. Add the drained spaghetti, beans, vodka if desired, cream, and freshly ground pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cook until the spaghetti is al dente, stirring, and add the clams and basil. Toss and cook 1 minute. Serve immediately with pecorino or Parmesan cheese, if desired.