Clam Chowder Pasta
In medium saucepan, render the bacon until crispy. Remove, set aside.
Add garlic cloves to bacon fat and brown.
Add onion, celery, thyme, pepper flakes and bay leaf
Cook vegetables until tender, then add the clam stock.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add the cream and Parmesan cheese. Remove bay leaf.
Puree the chowder base in a kitchen blender, pass through a strainer. Adjust seasonings and reserve.
For the Clams
In a medium saucepan, sauté garlic in olive oil over medium heat until lightly brown.
Add thyme sprigs and white wine. Bring pan to a boil and reduce liquid.
Add clams, cover pan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes until clams open. Reserve.
Bring a pot of water to boil, add salt and pasta. Cook pasta.
In wide-rimmed sauté pan, add bacon and butter over medium high heat. Add the leeks and mushrooms, gently sauté to lightly brown. Add the chowder base with the clam cooking juices, adjust seasoning. Remove some clam muscles from their shells, leaving others intact for garnishing plate.
Drain pasta lightly and add to the chowder base and clam cooking juice mixture. Add the clams and the pasta and toss in the wide-rimmed sauté pan. Transfer to a platter and garnish with whole clams, parsley and cheese.