Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Linguine with Red (or White) Clam Sauce



OK I know anchovies as an ingredient border on horrifying to a select few, but even if you aren’t a fan of the underrated little fishie, I want to encourage you to give this recipe a try. Here’s why: the anchovies actually dissolve into the oil, with the sole purpose of infusing the olive oil with a lovely salty/nutty flavor rather than fishy. It’s true, I promise! Anchovies prepared this way give a very special base to many sauces. Give it a try – and if you truly can’t stand the flavor of the end product (but I have a feeling you will), you can always bring the covered dish to the elderly woman who lives down the street and share some snacklove. :)

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound linguini
Salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 two-ounce can of anchovy fillets, drained
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried or fresh oregano
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 (15-ounce) cans whole baby clams, with their juice
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 handfuls of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the linguini and cook to an extra chewy al dente, 7 minutes or so. The linguini will continue to cook in sauce, later.

2. To a large skillet heated over medium heat, add oil, anchovies, garlic, thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes. Cook together and have fun watching the anchovies melt into oil and break up completely. Add the onion, and stir and saute till it softens. Add wine to the pan and shake it a bit. Add clams and their juice.
3. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir gently. Simmer for 1 or 2 minutes. Taste the sauce to see if it needs salt. It probably won't because anchovies and clams are both very salty, but toss in a bit if you want to.

4. Drain pasta and add it to the clam sauce. Add half the parsley. Toss with tongs and coat the pasta in sauce with clams until the pasta absorbs the flavor and juices, 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and season with salt, sprinkle the remaining parsley over the top. (That always makes everything look gorgeous on the table)

I like to serve this with crusty whole wheat Italian bread and my Christmas Salad (even if it’s July). The salad recipe is in the index!


EQUALLY DELIGHTFUL WHITE CLAM SAUCE:

Follow the recipe above but make the following exceptions if you hanker the tomato-less variety:

-Omit the onion, oregano and tomatoes
-Use white wine instead of red
That's it!

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