Provençal Clams and Mussels over Shells
- 2 pints grape tomatoes
- 15 leaves fresh basil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, shaved
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1 pound mussels
- 1 pound littleneck clams
- 1 pound pasta shells
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Place the mussels and clams in a large bowl of water and ice with 1 to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. The mussels and clams will spit out any sand. Lift the seafood out of the water, and rinse.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, and salt it well.
- Pulse together the tomatoes in a food processor until almost complete pureed. In a braising pot, add the oil and heat over low heat. Add the garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, and 12 basil leaves, torn. Add the sugar and red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on low for 27 minutes. Remove the lid, and increase the heat to medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until some of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water. Add the clams to the tomato sauce, and cover. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the mussels to the clams, and cover, continuing to cook over medium heat for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until all the seafood has opened. Drain the pasta when it is al dente.
- Toss the pasta with the seafood and sauce, and cook an addition 1 to 2 minutes on low so the pasta can soak up the sauce. Drizzle with extra olive oil, and serve immediately.
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