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Tom's Spicy Macaroni with Clams and Sausage

Chef Tom Valentiis, an old fishing buddy of Peter Kaminsky, has a knack for transforming a classic dish with one or two powerful flavors. He arrived at their tailgate with cooked macaroni, Italian sausage and clams. "I like to prepare the ingredients the night before and throw them together at the stadium," he said. "It leaves plenty of time to drink a cold beer and toss a football around."

Plus: More Pasta Recipes and Tips

  • Servings: 6

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  • 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped Spanish onion
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • One 28-ounce can peeled whole plum tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped marjoram
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausages, casings removed, sausages cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound short tubular pasta, such as ditalini or tubetti
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 dozen small clams, scrubbed and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, celery and half of the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme, marjoram and bay leaf, cover partially and simmer over low heat for 1 hour.
  2. Heat a large skillet. Add the sausages and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the sausages to a dish.
  3. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, rinse under cold running water and drain again.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat the wine with the remaining garlic. Add the clams, cover and cook over moderately high heat until they open, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to a bowl and let cool, then remove the clams from their shells. Strain the cooking liquid, leaving behind any grit.
  5. Reheat the tomato sauce in a large saucepan. Add the sausages and cook over moderate heat until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pasta, clam liquid and crushed red pepper and reheat thoroughly, about 8 minutes. Add the clams and season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 4. Refrigerate the clams in their cooking liquid and the other components separately for up to 1 day.

Contributed By Photo © Mathew Hranek Published November 1998

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