This is probably my favorite pasta dish. I've had it in restaurants with clams still in the shell, and this homemade version with the canned stuff. I vastly prefer not having to shuck my own seafood. Why work when you don't have to?
Linguine With White Clam Sauce
Makes 4 generous servings. Can stretch to 6.
1 lb linguine
2 TB EVOO
1/2 C finely chopped parsley
10 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 C whipping cream
1/4 C white wine
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or more (1/2 tsp will have lots of bite)
4 - 6.5 oz cans chopped clams, drained and reserve juice from THREE cans
2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
Get the water for your pasta boiling.
In a large skillet, heat the EVOO over medium heat. Throw in the parsley and garlic and cook until the garlic starts to turn lightly brown. Be careful not to burn. Burned garlic is NOT pleasant.
Add linguine to your boiling water and give it a good stir.
Back to your skillet, add the reserved clam juice, cream, wine, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Let this simmer while your pasta cooks, stirring occasionally. The sauce will be thin.
When pasta is done, drain well. Put hot pasta back in the pot, and add your sauce, clam meat and the lemon juice. Gently toss all the ingredients together for a couple of minutes. The sauce will thicken a little as you work it.
Portion into bowls and serve immediately. Pass grated Parmesan for sprinkling on top.
This is so darn good, I made it twice in one week. And it's so easy, I don't even need to consult the recipe anymore. It's in my head. Forever and ever.
A compound butter is simply softened butter combined with other ingredients; in this case, cashews, because I really, really like cashews. But you can substitute walnuts, pecans, or peanuts.
I purposely do not add salt while preparing this recipe as the butter and cashews have plenty. Just have a shaker of salt handy for those who might need a little more to suit their personal tastes.
Penne in a Compound Butter Sauce
This will make 4 generous servings, and can stretch to 6.
6 TB butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 C roasted, salted cashews
3/4 lb penne pasta
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets
2 TB veggie oil
1 lb fresh asparagus
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
First make your compound butter. Place softened butter and cashews in a food processor or blender. Process until a nice paste forms, and the nuts are uniformly chopped. Alternatively, you can finely chop or crush the nuts by hand, and then combine them with the butter. Set aside the mixture, but don't refrigerate.
Trim your chicken boobs, then dice the chicken into bite-sized chunks. Chunking your chicken speeds up the cooking process considerably. Plus, you don't have that problem with the thinner 'tail' part of the fillet getting cooked and dried out before the thicker half is done. I hate that.
Snap off the fibrous ends on your asparagus. A surprise mouthful of woody, stringy, tough asparagus is truly disgusting. (I've had this happen to me in expensive restaurants, where the chef should know better.) Depending on the length, cut the stems into thirds or halves.
Get your pasta to boiling. While that is going, heat the veggie oil in a skillet and add your chicken chunks. Pan-fry until just about done, stirring often. Turn off the heat, cover, and let them finish cooking.
When you've got a couple of minutes left to go on your pasta, add your veggies to the boiling water.
Drain. Return the pasta and veggies to the pot, add the chicken, compound butter and red pepper flakes. Gently toss to coat. Serve hot.
Cauliflower is such an underrated vegetable. This meatless pasta dish brings out the veggie's subtle flavor without overpowering it, and the raisins add a nice sweet note. I really need to purchase some plain white dishes to showcase my recipes. The flowers are distracting, not to mention the poor photography. As I've said with the other recipes on this blog, don't be put off by the pictures.
LINGUINE WITH CAULIFLOWER
This recipe will serve four.
1/3 C pine nuts
3/4 lb linguine
1 C reserved pasta water, divided use
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1/2 C raisins or currants
1/2 C water
3/4 tsp salt, divided use
6 TB butter
2 TB EVOO
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
3 TB chopped parsley
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Toast the pine nuts until a light golden brown, about 5 minutes or so.
Cook linguine until al dente. Drain pasta, return to pasta pot, and toss with 1/2 C of the reserved pasta water. Cover to keep warm.
In a large frying pan with a lid, place the cauliflower, raisins, water and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cook, covered, until cauliflower is almost tender, about 3 minutes. Remove mixture to a bowl and set aside (do not drain).
In the same frying pan, cook the butter until lightly browned. Add the EVOO, garlic, the cauliflower mixture, red pepper flakes and remaining salt. Stir and cook for just a minute more. Add the veggie mixture to the pasta, and toss with the pine nuts and cheese. If the pasta seems a bit dry, you can add a little more of the reserved pasta water. Garnish with parsley, and serve with additional Parmesan on the side.
This vegetarian pasta is so good, I've made it three times in the past month. The red pepper flakes add bite; you can use less if you aren't into anything really spicy.
PASTA WITH MUSHROOMS, TOMATOES AND TOASTED FENNEL
This recipe serves two.
3/4 tsp fennel seeds
3/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
3 TB olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 - 8 oz pkg white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
3 TB water
2 TB butter
20 grape tomatoes, halved (more if you like)
1 TB balsamic vinegar (add a bit more according to taste)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or less to taste)
2 servings of rotini pasta, cooked
In a large skillet, toast fennel seeds and black peppercorns over medium heat until fragrant, being careful not to burn.
Transfer the fennel and pepper to a mortar and crush with a pestle. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, improvise with a plastic bag and hammer. Works just as well! Be sure to let the spices cool a bit before placing inside the bag.
In the same skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat, and add garlic and onion. Saute until tender, being careful not to burn garlic.
Throw on the mushrooms, water and butter. Cook for about 4 minutes.
Add tomatoes, and cook another couple of minutes.
While tomatoes are cooking, toss hot pasta with balsamic vinegar, fennel seeds, peppercorns, basil and red pepper flakes. Add mushroom/tomato mixture, and toss thoroughly to coat. Serve hot.
"I am not
a glutton; I am an explorer of food." How I miss Erma Bombeck!