This delicious seafood pasta recipe is unique to Sardinia. Made with fregola pasta and small clams this is probably the most loved Sardinian pasta dish!
Wash the clams and place them in a large bowl with water and salt. Leave them at least an hour. At the end of this time, rinse them again very well under running water and transfer them to the fire in a pan large enough for them to open when heated.
As the clams open, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate or in a bowl. When they are all open, separate the shells keeping the part of the valve that contains
the attached mollusk. We also removed some from the shells completely. Pour the liquid remaining in the pan into a bowl through the mesh of a fine sieve covered with gauze or a thin cloth.
Chop the parsley and peel the garlic cloves. Heat the olive oil in a separate pan that's wide and has high edges. Add the two peeled garlic cloves and cook until they start to brown and soften. When the garlic is cooked remove it and add the tomato paste. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce is completely soaked in oil. Then add the hot water and bring the sauce to a boil.
When the liquid has boiled for a few minutes, it will be slightly reduced. Add the prepared half clams and the clams without shells if you have them. Then add the filtered clam water
and a handful of chopped parsley. Bring back to the boil, then add the fregola and cook over medium heat for about twenty minutes. If necessary, add a pinch of salt.
Pour the fregola with clams into serving dishes and serve immediately whilst still hot.
I used small clams called lupini (striped venus clams) but you can also use other types of small clams such as littlenecks. This dish is traditionally made with fregola and no other pasta. It might also work with Israeli couscous but I have never tried it!