- 1 1/2 pounds fresh curly spinach, thick stems discarded
- 1 cup orzo
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 5 medium shallots, finely chopped (1 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 3 pounds littleneck or other small hard-shell clams, scrubbed
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, sliced
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the spinach, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain and let cool, then squeeze dry. Coarsely chop the spinach.
In a medium pot of boiling salted water, cook the orzo until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large shallow serving bowl.
Heat a large enameled cast-iron casserole over high heat until hot. Add the sausage and thyme and cook, breaking up the sausage, until the meat is golden, about 6 minutes. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the wine and boil until reduced by half. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the clams, cover and cook until wide open, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the clams as they are done to the serving bowl with the orzo. Discard the thyme sprigs.
Boil the broth in the casserole until reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach, butter and lemon juice. Pour the sauce over the clams and toss well. Sprinkle the parsley over the ragout and serve.