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Sardinian Couscous With Clams

Fregola is a sun-dried and toasted Sardinian couscous that it is absolutely delicious! Although you may need to go to an Italian specialty store for it, we promise it will be worth the trip: once you’ve tasted fregola, you will seek out ways to prepare it! Here, it is combined with sweet clams, red vermouth, and tomato paste to make a most marvelous meal. Serve in big bowls with crusty bread to sop up the lovely broth.

Sardinian Couscous with Clams

2 – 2½ lbs. clams
2 tbs. olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
½ tsp. chili pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tab. tomato paste
3 cups chicken stock
¼ cup red vermouth
1½ cups fregola
3 tbs. chopped fresh parsley

Soak the clams in a large bowl of cold water, and sort through them, discarding any with shells that are open, or are cracked or smashed.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan that has a lid, then add the shallots, stirring for a minute or two. Add the garlic and chili flakes, stirring again until they sizzle, though not letting the garlic burn.

Stir in the tomato paste, then the chicken stock and vermouth. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and add the fregola. Simmer, uncovered for 10-12 minutes, or until just tender and al dente.

Add the drained clams and cover the pan with the lid. Let cook for 3-5 minutes at a fast simmer, then uncover the pan and check that the clams have opened. Any clams that, once cooked, stay closed, should be discarded.

Sprinkle in most of the parsley and stir to let everything combine together before ladling into warmed bowls to serve, sprinkling with a little more parsley.

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