Clams with Pancetta and Scallions

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Garlic Toast:
  • 1/4 cup chopped pancetta or bacon
  • 1 baguette
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and cut in 1/2
  • 4 to 5 dozen cherrystone clams, rinsed and picked over to remove those with broken shells or those that are opened
  • 1 cup vermouth or dry white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup rice, regular or instant, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • Garlic Toast, recipe follows
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook 3 minutes, until golden brown. Add scallions, clams and the vermouth (if using) and simmer 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, until shells open. Discard any shells that do not open.
With a slotted spoon, remove clams from pan and set aside. Simmer 2 minutes until sauce thickens. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Serve 1/2 of the clams (24 to 36) over rice and cover with thickened sauce. Top with parsley and serve with the Garlic Toast. Reserve the remaining clams (about 2 dozen) for fettuccine, if desired.

Cut the baguette into 1-inch thick slices. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and drizzle some olive oil over them. Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden and crispy. While still warm, rub the garlic clove on the toasts.

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