This spicy pasta recipe comes from a coworker who was kind enough to let us in on one of his favorite recipes. The sauce comes together pretty quickly and is packed with flavor thanks to cooked onions, dry vermouth, red pepper flakes, fresh parsley and lemon juice.
1 pound dry pasta such as spaghetti or fettuccini
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking shrimp
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup dry vermouth or substitute dry white wine
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 1/4 pounds littleneck clams (about 15 clams), scrubbed
1 pound cleaned large shrimp
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Add the olive oil and butter to a wide skillet (with lid) over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Pour in the vermouth and use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and brown sugar. Bring to a low simmer and cook until reduced slightly, about 8 minutes. While cooking, use a wooden spoon to break the whole tomatoes apart into bite-size chunks.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until it is tender but not mushy. Drain, but reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
While the pasta is cooking, cook the shrimp. Toss shrimp with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Add to a baking dish and roast the shrimp for 5 to 10 minutes until pink, firm, and cooked through.
When the sauce is done, add the clams and cover with a lid. Allow them to steam for 4 to 5 minutes. After 4 to 5 minutes, the clams should have opened, if one or two have not, remove from the pan and discard.
Add the shrimp, cooked pasta, and about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Toss well then cook one more minute until the sauce coats the pasta. Top with parsley and serve with lemon wedges on the side.