Spicy Clam Chorizo Pasta
- 4 to 5 dozen small littleneck clams
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1/2 pound chorizo casings removed and chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped white onion
- 5 garlic cloves pressed or finely chopped
- 2 chiles de arbol stemmed, chopped (keep the seeds), or more to taste
- 1 cup light beer that you like to drink
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
- Rinse and scrub the clams under cold water, making sure they are closed and unbroken. Discard any that aren’t closed. Drain well.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot or casserole set over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chorizo, breaking it into smaller pieces with two wooden spatulas or spoons, and fry until it begins to crisp and brown, about 4 minutes. Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.
- Add the 2 remaining tablespoons of olive oil to the rendered chorizo fat and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for a couple minutes until softened. Add the garlic and chile de arbol and cook for a minute, until the garlic is fragrant and the chile de arbol begins to toast. Pour in the beer, add the salt, and once it comes to a simmer, incorporate the drained clams. Let it come to a simmer again, cover with a lid, and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, until the shells open.
- Remove the lid and transfer the clams using a slotted spoon into a bowl, including the ones that may have fallen from the shells. Raise the heat to medium-high and continue to cook the beer-clam liquid for 6 to 7 minutes, so it strongly simmers and a lot of the alcohol evaporates. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and honey. Stir well, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once in between.
- Meanwhile, bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 9 to 10 minutes.
- Remove about 3 dozen clams from their shells and discard those shells. Remove the lid from the pot with the sauce and incorporate the cooked chorizo, shelled clams, and the clams still in their shells. Mix well.
- Strain the spaghetti and add it to the sauce. Toss until it is coated. Transfer to a serving platter or individual bowls and garnish with the parsley and cilantro and serve.