Linguine with Smoked Clams and Cherry Tomatoes

Lately I’ve been going crazy with my little stovetop smoker, including transforming a basic clam pasta recipe into something special. Without the smoke, this is an old favorite of mine (I’ve used it in the past to win over guests). Adding smoky flavor makes it ready for the big time. Hats off to my smoker!

Linguine with Smoked Clams and Cherry Tomatoes
Makes 4 servings

2 to 3 pounds manila or littleneck clams
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion
3 to 5 medium garlic cloves
4 anchovy fillets
Kosher salt
1 pound linguine
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley (optional)

Step 1: Fill a large bowl with cold water and place the clams in the water (they should be covered). Let soak for 10 minutes, then drain. Scrub the clams under cold water and set aside.

Step 2: In a stovetop smoker, smoke the clams and cherry tomatoes for 15 to 20 minutes (I took out the wire rack and smoked directly on the drip tray over alder chips). Discard any clams that don’t open. Set aside the clams and cherry tomatoes; reserve the liquid that’s collected in the tray.

Step 3: Chop the onion (coarsely), garlic (finely), and anchovies.

Step 4: Fill a large pot with heavily salted water and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta until it’s about three-quarters done (it should bend easily but still be super-firm). Drain and leave in the colander while you make the sauce.

Step 5: Return the empty pasta pot to the stove over medium heat. Add the oil and sauté the onion, garlic, and anchovy for a few minutes.

Step 6: Add the drained pasta and carefully pour in the juices from the smoker tray. Add the cherry tomatoes.

Step 7: Stir to combine everything, then cover and cook on medium heat for a few more minutes, until the pasta has absorbed most of the smoky juices and has finished cooking.

Step 8: Taste and add salt as needed. Grind in black pepper to taste. Carefully mix in the clams, or just spoon some on top of each serving. Sprinkle with parsley if you like that sort of thing.

Photos and styling by Chris Rochelle