Sunday, January 25, 2015

Viva la Vongole! - Linguine with White Clam Sauce

January 19, 2015 - There are a lot of things I could or should be doing today, but I'm not engaged in any activity more complicated than sitting in my couch corner, sipping coffee and enjoying the company of my dogs.  Even the television is off, as I am not sure I could handle more bad news. The Oklahoma Thunder crushed the Orlando Magic last night, and today is officially "Blue Monday", the saddest day of the year according to some bizarre mathematical formula that escapes me (but then so did calculus, both times I took it in college).

Truly, I don't feel like this is the saddest day of the year.  For one thing, I don't live in an area where freezing temperatures have turned the roads into ice-skating rinks and residents are suffering from frostbite and cabin fever.  I've been there, and that's no joke.

I made no New Year's Resolutions, so I do not feel bad about failing to follow through.  My traditional life-long resolution, to lose weight, is a joke.  This year I thought about resolving to stop losing weight.  Somewhere, Jean Nidetch is laughing at me.

Since I don't celebrate Christmas, I haven't run my charge cards up through the roof to purchase presents for my loved ones, and am now receiving the bills.  I've got bills, but not like that.  My bills always make me sad. Always.

I've got tsuris in my life, who doesn't?   But the saddest day of the year?  Not by a long shot.  When I say I can't take anymore bad news, I'm referring to acts of Islamic terrorism or natural disasters like typhoons, or reports of child abuse.  And it's not a day for Yahrzeit, remembrance for the passing of a loved one.  Those are really sad days, even if they don't fit into someone's mathematical delusion.  And when I think about those of my friends who are, as I write this, facing a medical crisis, I feel very bad.  My heart hurts for them not just today but every day.  Damn cancer.

My fibromyalgia is at a low simmer today.  And I had enough fresh garlic to repair that truly awful linguine dish I ordered at the restaurant the other night.  Save the Clams!  Viva la Vongole!  Long Live the Clams!

The rescue operation involved preparing a smaller amount of my tried-and-true white clam sauce recipe, and then purging the leftovers of grape tomatoes (in white clam sauce?) and bits of some overly spicy sausage (in white clam sauce??)  Oh, and I poured off that sad excuse for sauce, which contained neither garlic nor olive oil.  I think it must have been watered down white wine.  Fortunately, after I got done with it, it was awesome.

Here is the full-bore, from scratch, no-rescue-needed recipe that I have relied on for 25 years. Once you prepare this at home, you will never again be tempted to order it at a restaurant, even a good Italian restaurant.

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
2 - 8 oz. bottles clam juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
kosher salt, black pepper, and a pinch of sugar
6 flat cans chopped clams
2 tablespoons butter
2 dozen fresh littleneck clams

12 oz. linguine (flat spaghetti), cooked al dente

In a large deep pan, heat the garlic very gently in the oil to a golden brown.  Add the clam juice, lemon juice, wine, oregano, parsley, basil, salt, pepper and sugar.  Simmer for 20 minutes to heat thoroughly and mingle flavors.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Add the canned clams, with their juice, to the pan, bring up to heat, then add the fresh clams, cover the pan, lower the heat and cook about 10 minutes until the clams open.  Stir the butter into the sauce.  Gradually add the linguine to the sauce, stirring to coat the pasta.  Heat together just a minute, then serve immediately.

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