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Spaghetti with Clams

36 littleneck clams (the smaller the better)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 oz. thinly sliced Canadian bacon or smoked ham
1/4 tsp. hot pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white vermouth or dry white wine
1 cup bottled clam broth or fish stock
1 baking potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
8 oz. spaghetti, spaghettini, or linguini
1/2 chopped flat-leaf parsley

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot for cooking pasta.
Scrub the clam shells under cold water with a stiff bristle brush.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the garlic and
cook over a medium heat until fragrant but not brown, about 1
minute. Stir in the bacon and pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.
Add vermouth and bring to a boil. Add the clam broth, and bring to
a boil. Stir in the potatoes and clams, tightly cover the pan, and
cook until the shells open and the potatoes are tender, about 8
minutes.

Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente, about 8
minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander. Stir it into the sauce
and cook until thoroughly heated and coated with sauce, about 2
minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve at once.

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