Sunday, August 8, 2010

Something Fishy

Friday nights around here I can't even think about food; I've usually spent the week traveling, or testing recipes, and when it comes to the end of the week, I've got little inspiration for making a decent meal for Dr. C. and I.  My go-to meal  is literally on the table in the time it takes to cook the pasta.  In this case, it's linguine with shrimp and clams, although I know vegetarians who make this with veggies,and love it.  (Use your imagination here, I've not tried it!) So if you prefer to start your week with something simple,here's a meal that needs only salad and crusty bread to sop up the garlicky sauce. 

Linguine con Vongole e Scampi

Serves 4

1 pound dry linguine (I love Barilla)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon blanc are good choices here--nothing with an oak flavor)
1 cup shucked clams and their juices
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup packed basil leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste
  1. In an 8-quart stock pot bring 6 quarts of water to a boil.  Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the water, and add the linguine cooking 3 minutes short of al dente.
  2. While the pasta is boiling, melt the butter with the oil in a large deep skillet.  Add the onion, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and Old Bay, and saute for 3 to 4 minutes until the onion is translucent. 
  3. Add the wine to the pan, and bring to a boil and reduce the wine by half.  Add the clams, juice, and shrimp, and cook for 3 minutes, until the shrimp begin to turn pink.  Add the basil and parsley, taste the sauce for seasoning and add salt or pepper if necessary.
  4. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving some of the pasta water.  Add the pasta to the clam sauce, and stir to blend.  Cook the pasta for 3 minutes, until it has absorbed some of the sauce, and is al dente (firm to the bite)  
  5. Serve the pasta is shallow bowls---mangia bene! 
  • A little tutorial on cooking pasta
    • Never add oil to the water; when pasta cooks it releases starch and the starch on the pasta is what holds the sauce once its cooked. If you add oil the sauce will slide off the pasta.
    • Always cook the pasta in copious amounts of salted water; my Nona used to say, the pasta should swim in the water and the water should taste like the ocean. 
    • Italians don't over-sauce their pasta; they cook the pasta a bit less than al dente, then add it to an appropriate amount of sauce, to further cook the pasta, and make sure that the pasta absorbs the sauce.  
    • Italians don't serve cheese on seafood pastas, the delicate flavor of the seafood will be overpowered by the strong cheese flavor. 

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