Littleneck Clams with Spicy Venison Sausage Pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- Crushed red pepper to taste
- 1 pound Spicy Venison Sausage, crumbled recipe follows
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3 cups peeled, seeded and chopped Roma tomatoes
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 3 cups clam juice
- 3 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 1 pound linguine pasta
- Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup chiffonade fresh basil leaves
- Spicy Venison Sausage:
- 1 1/2 pounds venison, elk, or moose meat, cubed
- 1 pound pork butt, cubed
- 3/4 pound pork back fat, cubed
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram leaves
- 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and green pepper. Season lightly with salt and crushed red pepper. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking up pieces with a spoon, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste and continue to cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and herbs. Season with salt and crushed red pepper. Continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the clam juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until reduced to sauce consistency. Stir in the clams, cover and continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the clams completely open their shells. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just al dente, usually 10 to 11 minutes. Remove and drain the pasta.
Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl and toss lightly with olive oil and salt. Add the tomato sauce, clams and basil and toss to combine. Mound onto serving plates and drizzle each plate with olive oil to garnish.Spicy Venison Sausage:
Combine all ingredients in a large nonreactive bowl and toss to blend. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove marinated meat from the refrigerator and grind through a 1/4-inch plate. Mix briefly but thoroughly to make sure that all ingredients are evenly distributed.
Mixture may be formed into patties, burgers, or stuffed into casings, as desired.
Yield: about 3 1/2 pounds fresh bulk sausage
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