I was walking around the grocery store looking for pancetta the other day and the word 'nduja caught my eye on some packaging. I've eaten 'nduja before but I've never been able to find it at the grocery store. I decided to pick some up and save it for a recipe, not really knowing what I'd do with it. If you've never had 'nduja, it's a spreadable salumi that's made up of different parts of the pig, roasted peppers, and lots of spices. The 'nduja is actually much spicier than I thought, so use caution when you're adding it to your sauce!
This recipe does require quite a few pots and pans, so prepare for a little bit of cleanup afterwards. The end result is delicious though!
Skill Level: Intermediate
Time to Make: 1 hour 10 minutes (15 minutes inactive)
20 littleneck clams
12 large, dry scallops
1 4-ounce tin of sardines in oil
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 garlic cloves
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
2-4 ounces 'nduja, depending on your spice preference
1/4 cup fresh parsley
16 ounces linguine
1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of sugar
Prepare Ingredients: Scrub the littleneck clams and chill until ready to cook. Remove the muscle from the scallops, pat dry, and season with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to cook. Roughly chop the parsley. Cook the linguine according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta.
Start the Sauce: While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pot (a high-sided, 10'' skillet would be great). Add the sardines and cook, breaking them up with a spoon until no large chunks remain. Cook until well browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and cook an additional minute, stirring frequently, until fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Work the 'nduja into the sauce, using a spoon to break it up. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Stir the sauce occasionally to ensure the 'nduja has been completely worked in. After the sauce has cooked for 30 minutes, stir in all but a pinch of the fresh parsley.
Cook the Clams: Stir the reserved pasta cooking water into the sauce and turn the heat up to medium. Once the sauce is bubbly, gently add the clams in an even layer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, transfer all open clams to a large bowl and return the cover to the skillet. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Any clams that have not opened at this point should be discarded. Transfer all remaining open clams to the bowl.
Sear the Scallops: During the last 5 minutes of the clams cooking, prepare the scallops. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the scallops in an even layer and cook for 1 minute and 30 seconds without moving. Flip and cook an additional 1 minute and 30 seconds. Remove from heat and keep warm.
Finish the Pasta: Add the cooked linguine to the pot of sauce and toss to coat. Arrange the clams on top. Remove from heat.
To Serve: Divide the linguine and clams between plates and arrange a few seared scallops on top. Garnish with remaining fresh parsley. Enjoy!
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Designer and photographer living in NYC. I work as a design manager in ed tech and I make tasty recipes in my spare time!