Orecchiette Pasta with Clams & Chorizo

Orecchiette Pasta with Clams and Chorizo
Prep Time
45 minutes
2 as main, 4 as an appetizer

1-pound dry orecchiette pasta
½ tsp kosher salt (plus salt for pasta water)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 pounds little neck or manila clams, rinsed well
¾ cup red onion, julienne
1 cup Spanish Chorizo or spicy soppressata, diced
1 large garlic clove, sliced thin or minced
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup Blue Moon Belgian White beer
1 Valencia orange juice and zested
2 pinches of chili flakes, optional
½ cup cherry tomatoes halved
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice


Bring a large stock pot (8-12qt,) of water to a boil. Add kosher salt (1/2 tbs per quart of water). Add orecchiette to the boiling water and cook until al dente, should have a firm toothiness. Cook time should be about 2-3 minutes less than the package states. Drain pasta into a colander and reserve 1 cup of pasta water. In a large sauce pot or sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat, add chorizo, and cook and stir until rendered and crispy about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove crispy chorizo from pan and reserve for garnish. Turn pan heat to low. Add the clams, red onion, garlic, tomato paste, chili flake and salt to the pan with the rendered chorizo fat and stir well, cook for about 3 minutes. Add Blue Moon beer to the clams and cover with lid and shake the pan. Cook covered on medium heat for 8-12 minutes (depending on the size of the clams and when they open). Shake pan every once in a while, to distribute the sauce and promote opening of the shells. Stir in pasta and cherry tomatoes to the clam sauce and continue to cook pasta in the sauce for 2 minutes. Toss in the herbs, orange juice and zest. Remove from heat and plate pasta in bowls then followed by the clams around the pasta.


Orange in the pasta acts as a garnish for the beer mirroring the major fruit ingredient in the brew. The chorizo and spice and umami from clams amplifies those flavors. I love using the beer to build the sauce, it adds incredible depth.


Garnish with crispy chorizo bits and drizzle extra virgin olive oil