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Posts Tagged ‘pasta dishes’

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As summer comes in with a bang – thunderstorms have been daily occurrences since the first day of summer at the end of June – I pay my respects to the last bit of spring on our menu.  I’ve talked about fiddlehead ferns in past posts, but since they are such a seasonal treat, I’d like to talk about them again.  Fiddleheads are not cultivated so the only way you can experience them is through picking them yourself or purchasing from a farmers market or local forager.  Plus I think they are only found in the United States in the northeast, but I could be wrong about this.  All of these things make them, I think, even more special.  I use them as a vegetable as well as a component in spring pasta dishes.  Our farewell batch turned into a lovely light dinner sautéed with some chopped garlic scapes in butter and extra virgin olive oil and then tossed with crumbled ricotta salata in homemade pasta.  I already am thinking about what next spring might bring.

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On our annual trip out on the Cape, we have fish or shellfish every day.  All of the seafood is so pristine that I usually serve it raw or just simply cooked – why spoil something so delicious in its own right with sauces and such?  The only exception is when I do something with pasta.  One of our favorite pasta dishes is linguine with clams for which I don’t really have a tried and true recipe – after all, I’m not an Italian grandma!  For our clam night this year, I incorporated some very sweet little yellow cherry tomatoes that we had picked up from a local farm along with a charming bouquet of nasturiums that the farmer’s dear little daughter had picked, tied with ribbon, and sold for ice cream money.  The end result was absolutely delicioso.  Here’s what I did – there is no real measurement – just guage how much broth you want with the amount of clams and pasta you are going to be serving.

While you are cooking the clams, cook the linguine to al dente according to package directions.  For the clams, put a nice layer of olive oil in the pot.  Add a good measure of chopped garlic – I use about 8 cloves (you never can be sure about those vampires lurking around) – then when the garlic is smelling up the oil, add a cup of white wine and then let it bubble for a few minutes to allow the winey flavor to mellow.  Then, add a bottle of clam juice, a cup of chicken stock, and a cup or so of fresh chopped clams.  Let it cook for a couple of minutes,  or until very hot.   Taste and season with pepper and, if needed, salt.  Add your clams, cover, and cook until all of the clams pop open.  If, like me, you have some sweet cherry tomatoes, add them along with the clams.

When all of the clams have opened, stir in some chopped parsley.  Drain the pasta well and toss it with a touch of extra virgin olive oil.  Transfer it to a large platter with sides (so the broth doesn’t run off).  Pour the clams and broth over the pasta.  And, the crowning glory,  julienne the nasturium flowers and leaves and sprinkle them over the clams.  You can’t believe what a wondrous marriage of flavors come together with the sweet clams, winey broth, and spicy nasturiums.

 

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