Saturday, November 14, 2009

Linguini With Red Clam Sauce

Linguini with Red Clam Sauce, plus a few bay scallops!

The weather around here has been dismal and dreary, with lots of rain and clouds everyday for about a week. Friday night was just too depressing to even think about dragging around, looking for a convivial spot to have a drink and get a plate of good food, so I decided to make one of our family favorites, Linguine with Red Clam Sauce. This recipe is not only good to eat, it is very low in calories and fat. I like to add in what ever other kind of seafood we happen to have around the house, and last night it was a cup full of frozen bay scallops (the little ones).

This is so easy and everything can be kept on hand for those nights when you forget to thaw something or you did not have time to prep a meal early in the day. The basic sauce it very budget friendly -- canned clams are always inexpensive, just watch for frozen seafood sales at the local grocery store. for the extra seafood to toss in.

Try this -- I am betting it will become a part of your meal rotation. It's a go to winner! I have often served it to company, dressed up with fresh clams and shrimp, and it's always a hit. This recipe will serve 4 - 6, depending on what you serve with it. Don't forget the salad and bread, to make it go a little farther!

Linguini With Red Clam Sauce

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes (get a good brand or San Marzano)

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small can minced clams in juice**

1 handful chopped flat leaf parsley OR 1 tsp. dried oregano + 1 tsp. dried basil

a spritz of fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. salt

1/4 c. dry red wine

freshly ground black pepper

1 16 oz. box linguini, cooked al dente

In a large, deep non stick frying pan, heat your oil over low heat and add the onions and garlic. Let this cook low and slow, to develop the flavor, being careful not to brown the garlic. I like to do this at least 10 minutes. Open the can of clams and drain off the juice; then, add it to the pan, reserving your clams for later. Continue to let this simmer for a few minutes. Drain the juice from the tomatoes into the pan and then crush the tomatoes with your hands and add them to the sauce. ("Why not use crushed tomatoes" you are asking? Because most of them have tomato puree added and the consistency is too smooth. Same thing with diced tomatoes, wrong consistency.) If you are using the dried herbs, add them at this point. Sprinkle in a scant tsp. of salt (don't over do the salt, the clams and juice are salty on their own) and a few gridings of black pepper. Add the wine. Turn up the heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Turn it down, cover it and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. (Start heating up your big pot of water for the pasta, so it all gets ready about the same time.)

At this point, add in your clams and a cup or so of any other seafood you like. Some to try are whole, peeled and deveined shrimp, scrubbed cherry stone clams, bay scallops or sea scallops cut in fourths. If you are using fresh seafood, just make sure it is well drained and cleaned.

Bring the sauce back to a boil, just for a few minutes, long enough to cook your additional seafood -- the canned clams are cooked. Shrimp and scallops take about 5 minutes, whole clams are ready when they pop open. Discard any that do not pop.

I have made this dish many times with just the clams, and it works fine and is delicious. However, adding the extra seafood gives it a little WOW factor. It all depends on your budget and what you have in your kitchen!

Lastly add the fresh flat leaf parsley, if that is the herb you have, and the spritz of lemon. Serve over hot, cooked linguini. Be sure to serve this with crusty bread -- the sauce is very juicy and you will want to soak it all up and not miss a drop!! It's not traditional, but I can't resist adding a few shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano to the top.
**Cooks note: Be sure to buy minced clams, not chopped. And be sure to follow the directions to add the juice from the can early in the recipe and the clams themselves at the very end. If you cook canned clams too long, they begin to taste like chopped rubber bands!!

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