Friday, June 3, 2011

Spaghetti with clams in a white wine sauce

So... long time no see!! How have you all been? I hope you are well! Many things have happened in the past month since I’ve been MIA… more to come on that later. But to give you an idea, I finished my MBA, traveled to Lake Como and Florence, we had a visitor stop by from the US, and I have also been teaching English courses for about three weeks now. I’ll give more details on all of that later.

For now, here is a great recipe that I found thanks to Giada De Laurentiis! Her Everyday Italian (2005) cookbook is a great place for easy, but tasty meals. This one scared me because it contains seafood (I’ve only ever cooked with shrimp). For some reason, seafood scares me because I don’t know how to cook it. I’m scared that it won’t be cooked properly and it will either be rubbery, or I’ll be sick because it wasn’t cooked enough. Well… time to throw caution to the wind with this one! This is a great starter when learning how to cook with seafood, and a great confidence builder. It’s easy, and delicious! Not to mention, this will impress your friends and/or family!

Spaghetti with Clams
Serves: 4 main-course servings,
Time: 10 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking

1 pound dried spaghetti
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots finely chopped (I used one small white onion)
5 garlic cloves
2 ½ pounds manila clams, scrubbed clean
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lemon for zesting

1. Clean the clams and prepare them for cooking. I made the mistake of not doing this before cooking… It makes things a little more complicated if you don’t do this ahead of time (I’m speaking from experience). Ha-ha.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until cooked “al dente” (still a little firm). Stir to be sure noodles don’t stick together.
3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add the shallots and sauté until soft (about 3 min). Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is golden brown and shallots are translucent (about 3 more min- be careful not to burn the garlic). Add clams, wine, 2 tablespoons of parsley, ½ teaspoon of sea salt and ½ tablespoon of pepper. Cover and simmer until most of the clams have opened, about 6 minutes. Toss any clams that don’t open. Whisk in the butter to thicken the sauce slightly.
4. Drain the spaghetti noodles, reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid. DO NOT RINSE THE NOODLES WITH WATER. Retaining the natural starches helps the sauce adhere to the spaghetti. Toss noodles with clam mixture in the pan to coat. Add enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten if needed. (When I made this dish it didn’t need the liquid- but this may be different for you)
5. Transfer pasta and clams to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with lemon zest over the pasta. Garnish with remaining parsley and serve immediately.

NOTE: Go easy on the sea salt; don’t use more than the recipe calls for! Sea salt is potent and a little goes a long way.

De Laurentiis, G. (2005). Everyday Italian: 125 simple and delicious recipes. New York, NY: Clarkson Potter/Publishers.

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