Linguini White Clam

        linguini wc illustration

      “Mornings were the best part of the day! We got to go to work with my mom!  My brother and I couldn’t eat breakfast fast enough to get ready!  Sitting by the bathroom door we patiently watched my mom put on her lipstick. I loved the sound she made after carefully sliding the lipstick around her lips, pursing her lips together.  That pop sound signaled, “Let’s go!”      

   Working was going down to “the restaurant” to help set up all the tables for lunch.  While my brother and I carefully placed the paper placemats at each place setting, my mom methodically placed the silverware in their proper spots. Watching her balance all those butter dishes I marveled at how she tossed the plates like Frisbees landing perfectly over the butter knives!  I secretly hoped that one day my mom would let me set up the tables all by myself.

   Finally after setting up all those tables we got our much anticipated reward! We followed my mom into the kitchen where she pulled out two little cans of tomato juice out of the refrigerator.  As we continued to follow her to the salad pantry where she lifted up the gleaming stainless steel top to pull out a lemon cutting it into perfect wedges we  caught a glimpse of my dad and his brothers busy at work!  My brother and I stood very quietly as we didn’t want to distract them from their work. The restaurant kitchen was sacred!  Grabbing 2 small glasses, my mom had us sit at a table adjacent to the bar. As we slid into the booth my brother and I gleefully opened up those little cans of tomato juice pouring it into little glasses and squeezing wedges of lemon into them!  I can still remember the taste of that tomato juice!  To this day no tomato juice has ever compared to what we sipped on back then in “the restaurant” sitting next to my mom after a productive morning!” My brother and I felt great satisfaction knowing that we too did our share in “the restaurant”! “

 Hello!

   Have you all been practicing making your garlic and oil sauce?  Don’t worry if you have had to practive a few times to get it perfect.  It’s all in the timing of getting the garlic a perfect gold color and then stopping the cooking by adding the parsley cooling it off.

   Now that you have mastered the basic recipe of Garlic and Oil Sauce the next sauces will be easy.   Linguini White Clam was another very popular dish at “the restaurant”.  It uses the same ingredients and the same exact method as the garlic and oil recipe with the addition of clams.  We will be omitting the salt since the clams are already salty.  In the restaurant we used cherrystone clams (big clams) instead of  the littlenecks (baby clams).  We liked using the cherrystone clams because they had the most clam juice and also because they yielded the most clams with the least amount of shucking. We don’t recommend canned clams.  To get “the restaurant” flavor always use fresh clams!

4819e21d1b8e7a245892fa8051bcbd26Shucking a clam doesn’t require strength.  It requires a little knowledge to get the clam knife through the opening of the clams cutting the muscle that keeps it shut tight.  Once the clam knife penetrates into the cavity of the clam then you turn the knife upwards to cut through both ends of the muscle that attach the clam to the shell. If you feel intimidated by shucking a clam you could always ask the fishmonger at the seafood market to shuck them for you.  Also another trick is to put the clams in the freezer for an hour which will relax the muscle that keeps the clam shut tight.  The clam knife will be easier to wedge in between the clam shell. An even easier way is to put the clams in the freezer for 3 hours. Then bring them out and let them thaw.  As they thaw they will open up for you.

 

868f3d5c7d07b376faf6ee3de9b073982fa2c805acd5d2999d9480b96d6e5c306715e34bedf459977880cea8d43443f2

 

 f8385b95e929dc7c9097281328bbc359



Linguini White Clam

(Served over 1 pound of linguini)

8c4402ba13a8b03748fdc10bcddb3ad1

 

Ingredients:

A dozen cherrystone clams ( shucked and save ½ cup clam juice)

½ cup of extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs chopped Italian parsley

4 medium cloves of thinly sliced thin

Pinch of red pepper flakes

 

Procedure:

           Wash and scrub the clams. Shuck the clams and save all the clam juice. Put the clam juice aside to allow all the sand and clam bits to settle.  Chop the clams well.  Pour off the clear clam juice discarding the sandy settlement. Saute the garlic in the extra virgin olive oil until golden.  Take the skillet off the burner and throw in the chopped parsley.  Pour in the ½ cup of clear clam juice, the chopped clams and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Return to medium high heat. The clam sauce will foam as the clam juice evaporates.  Keep stirring.  Once the foam forms to the center of the pan the clams will be cooked (probably around 3 minutes).   Add a ladle (1/4 cup)  of starchy pasta water from your pasta that has been cooking  to the white clam sauce.

99ac2dff90f9d9d0c7735c459b8da40841c7603e3f26e58f6639496defbda28f

     Cook the pasta according to your liking.  We  always make our pasta aldente! You may either add the sauce to the pasta or you can add the pasta to the skillet to soak up some of the sauce and then pour it all in a big pasta bowl and serve. Depending on whether you want to serve this dish as a  first course or main course, it can serve anywhere from 2-6 people.

 A variation of the White Clam Sauce is Red Clam Sauce.  It is the same  recipe except for one ingredient.  Instead of the 1/4 cup of pasta water, at the end you add a 1/4 cup of marinara sauce.  Use the 825 MAIN Marinara! I promise it will be the exact taste of “the restaurant”!

Mussels in Marinara Sauce

Mussels are a staple of southern Italian cooking. I found that no matter what dinner table I sat at or what restaurant we ate at while visiting family in Monte di Procida and Ischia mussels were always part of the meal, either as an appetizer, on bruschetta, on spaghetti in a soup or even on a vegetable side dish. I am surprised I didn’t see it on a dessert. The following  is a simple yet delicious recipe to bring la vita gustosa of Napolitano cooking at your table!

Fresh tomatoesIngredients
24 small fresh mussels
One 25 oz jar 825 Main Marinara Sauce
1 lb linguine

Procedure
Place washed debearded mussels in a lidded pot turn on medium while steaming shake pot twice. When mussels are opened take off burner and let cooled. Once cooled, reserve liquid and shuck mussels. Place shucked mussels and mussel water in a heavy large skillet. Add jar of Marinara sauce. (If you don’t mind the shells you can also add the mussels shell and all right to the marinara sauce and the heat will open the mussels and release the liquid into the marinara sauce making a most delicious sauce.) Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water to boil with 1/2 teaspoon salt, once boiling add pasta. After 7 minutes drain pasta. Pour pasta back into empty pot adding mussel  sauce and toss together  and serve.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 4

Zuppe di Clams Marinara

Fresh parsleyIngredients
24 littleneck clams
1 clove chopped garlic
1 Tbl fresh chopped parsley
One 25 oz jar 825 Main Marinara Sauce
1 lb linguine

Procedure
Wash clams and scrub under cold running water with stiff brush. Discard any opened clams. Combine olive oil in saucepan heat. Add clams, still in their shells. Add chop garlic and parsley. Cover and cook 2 min. Add Marinara Sauce and cook 10 min. Bring 2 quarts of water in pot to a boil add, 1/2 teaspoon salt and begin cooking pasta for 7 minutes. Drain pasta and plate. Pour the clam sauce over the pasta and serve.

Prep time:10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 4

Shrimp with Marinara Sauce

Ingredients
1 lb peeled deveined raw shrimp
One 25 oz jar 825 Main Marinara Sauce
1 lb linguini

Procedure
Bring 2 quarts of water in pot to a boil add, 1 teaspoon salt & begin cooking pasta for 7 minutes. While pasta cooking in large heavy skillet sauté  diced shrimp with  Marinara sauce on medium heat until the shrimp become firm. Don’t overcook or the shrimp will be tough. Drain pasta and return to pot adding shrimp marinara and mix altogether over medium heat and serve.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 4