Friday, August 19, 2011

Primordial Pasta

Out of a clamorous clash of titans, born of a seawracked tempest, came a primordial pasta, immersed in the essential broth from which life emerged.

My Mom's favorite pasta dish is Linguine with White Clam Sauce. We each have our own way of doing this. I have to admit, that the pasta sauce she made today was the best I've ever had. (Of course, I cooked the linguine to the perfect point.)

Over the years, she has developed a recipe using simple ingredients but an exact technique that if done according to the following instructions, will bestow upon the eater a pasta of primordial essence.

There are a few basic but essential keys to this dish.
• Butter
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Garlic
• Canned chopped clams
• Dehydrated onion flakes
• Fresh parsley
• Bottled clam broth

•Linguini pasta. We like Barilla. You can pay more if you wish.

Here is the method, to serve 4 persons.

• 1 pound of linguine pasta.
• 4 quarts well salted, boiling water.

Put the pot of water on the stove, turn the heat up to full.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.

You'll also need 3, 6.5 ounce cans of chopped clams. We had great success with Snow's brand. Open and drain, reserving the liquid.

• 1, 8 ounce bottle of clam broth. We happened to have Cento brand.

• 5 cloves of garlic, peeled, trimmed and ready to press.

• Sweet butter, at least a stick. You will need a lot of butter. Don't hold back!

Extra virgin olive oil.

Fresh parsley, washed, patted dry and trimmed of coarse stems. Chop about 3+ tablespoons parsley medium fine.

In a 2 quart saucepan, put about 1/8 cup of olive and a tablespoon of butter. Melt over low heat. Press the garlic cloves into the pot. Cook over low heat, stirring. Do not brown.

Pour in the reserved liquid from the clams plus the 8 ounce bottle of clam broth plus the parsley. Add a generous shake of dry onion flakes. Let's say 1 tablespoon. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

By now, the salted water for the pasta should have come to a full boil. Put the pasta into the water gradually, stirring with a wooden spoon or fork so it does not stick to itself.

You may turn off the heat under the sauce as the linguine cooks, approximately 6-8 minutes at near sea level, longer at higher elevations.

Please cook it al dente, so it is still slightly resistant to the bite. Test a strand often.

Meanwhile, prepare a serving dish as follows: in  a microwave proof casserole or souffle dish, place 3/4 stick of butter (6 tablespoons) and heat in the micro until the butter is melted and sizzling.

Just before the pasta is done, turn up the heat on the clam broth-garlic-parsley mixture. Drop in the reserved clams and bring just to a simmer, then turn off the heat.

Drain the pasta into a colander in the sink. Do not rinse. Shake the colander a couple of times and invert the contents into the dish with the heated butter. Toss well to coat every strand with butter.

No linguine lingers languidly in the bowl.
Serve the pasta separately from a bowl of the clam sauce. Heated soup bowls are strongly advised. Forks and soup spoons are the tools of the day.
Perhaps it should be called Green Clam Sauce
Pass the black pepper grinder for those who wish it. It is not the custom to put cheese on seafood pasta.

Primordial pleasure in pasta
Pass some warmed, crust French or Italian bread for sopping up the extra juices.

For dessert, we had freshly and lightly cooked peaches and plums, with just a little sugar. I also indulged in a Pignoli Cookie.

(By the way, my Mom isn't even Italian.)


Tancho said...

Uuuuum that is one of my favorite Italiano Dishes! Any way you make it, it is a winner, especially with fresh pasta!
I may even make it tomorrow, thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Primordial pasta? Good lord almighty!

Barilla makes a pretty good sauce too, and it saves lots of time.

Don Cuevas said...

Barilla pasta sauces are pretty good, I reckon. But some of us have the time to make the sauces ourselves. It's enjoyable. Also better!)

At least we didn't have to forage the mollusks on the shores of Lake Pátzcuaro.

Don Cuevas

Unknown said...

I love pasta :) Clams & basil are my favorite!