Saturday, 21 September 2013

Linguini with Clam Sauce

woops, seemed to focus more on the wine here, sorry!

As a neighbor once told me: It’s just not summer till you’ve sat down to a plate of clam linguini and a glass of white wine.  Technically, summer ends tomorrow, so there’s still time to celebrate.

I’ve used a squid ink linguini here, but you could use any kind you like, and if you can afford to use fresh clams, then all the better. The best pastas are available at Italian markets, and you need to pick up good cheeses and oregano there too, so go!

This entire dish can be made in the time it takes for the water to boil, and the pasta to be done. 

large pot cold water
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 small package linguine (serving four)

1 tablespoon oil drained from sun dried tomatoes in a jar
1 red onion, finely diced
20 grates fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons Greek oregano (also available in good Italian markets)
5 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
4 sun dried tomatoes, with a bit of their oil, finely diced
2 cups vine ripened tomatoes, cut into pieces, or whole if very small
2 chilies (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
harvested from my garden
juice from a can of clams
4 leaves kale
1 cup white wine (possibly more)
1 can clams
1 lemon, juiced

1 inch chunk Parmesan cheese, grated
1 inch chunk Romano cheese, grated

Set the pot of cold water on the stove at high heat, salt it and cover. 

Meanwhile, put oil in a large saucepan, and put heat on medium high.  When it’s hot, add the onion, black pepper and oregano.  Frying the spices is an Indian trick, my only justification for putting an Italian recipe into an Indian cuisine blog.  (Italian is almost as good as Indian...)  Also, Greek oregano is much more powerful than Italian, almost mint like but more savoury.  The Greek olive oil is better too, but that's for another recipe since the oil in this recipe is from the sun-dried tomatoes.  

Fry till the onion is starting to caramelise and turn transparent.  Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and chilies and cook till the garlic softens. Rib the kale, then mince it finely and add to the sauce, stirring. Add the clam liquid and wine, cover the pot and continue cooking.  Well minced kale takes about ten minutes to cook.  
mince well

Read your pasta directions.  When the water is boiling, add pasta.  When the pasta is about two minutes from being cooked, add the clams to the tomato sauce and cook for two minutes, stirring.  If the mixture looks too thick, add a bit more wine.

Once the pasta is al dente, drain and then mix into the sauce.  Pour the lemon juice over the works and toss gently.

Sprinkle grated cheese over just before serving.  Real Italians would cringe at this step, as they shun the mixing of fish and cheese.  Thank heavens I'm not Italian, so I can add cheese to my heart's content.

This quick meal is actually just as good at any other time of year.  In the winter, it could remind you of the sunny days of summer, couldn’t it? 

Squid ink linguini isn't to everyone's taste-- spinach or even plain pasta works just fine!

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