Thinking Ahead: The sauce may be made in the morning before the day of final preparation, covered, and refrigerated.
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
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 aside.
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
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.
1 pound dried penne
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
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.
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Excerpted from ALFRED PORTALE'S GOTHAM BAR & GRILL by Alfred Portale Copyright© 1997 by Alfred Portale. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher