Friday, 25 March 2011

Clam linguini

Clam linguini
Today it has been sunny all day. The blossom on the trees is a welcome sight and the lighter evenings are upon us. Spring has sprung!
Today is not a day for cosy comfort food but fresher ideas.

Clams are at their best at the moment. I used the wonderful venus clam. Who could resist such a name?

Clam linguini - serves 2

175g of linguini (half normal and half squid ink pasta makes it look extra pretty)
a very good glug of olive oil
1 large onion
2 shallots
4 garlic cloves
1-2 chopped dried chili 
a very large handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
2 glasses of wine (1 for the dish, 1 as chefs privilege)
2 handfuls of clams
1/2 lemon
parmesan to serve

Give the clams a good rinse under cold running water for a couple of minutes and de-beard them.
Discard any clams that do not close with a quick tap or have broken shells. Leave to soak in a bucket of cold water for at least an hour before you start cooking them. Do this unless you are strange and like gritty seafood.

Finely chop the onion and shallots, add to a pan with the olive oil on a medium heat. The idea is to soften them and give them a gentle brown colour. 
After 3-4 minutes add the thinly sliced garlic. Keep stirring to prevent the garlic from getting burnt and bitter. Add the chili.
Meanwhile get the pasta on. I think the trick of not having clumpy linguini is to make sure there is plenty of water and give the pan an occasional stir. The pasta will take 7-8 minutes.
At this time add a glass of wine to a hot pan and let it reduce so that the alcohol has a little chance to burn off. After a few minutes add the clams, put the lid on and give it a shake once or twice. They will take about 2 minutes to open up.
Once the pasta still has quite a lot of bite, drain and add it to the onions. Add the parsley. Pick the clams out their shells and add them and the lovely fishy, winy liquid to the pasta. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper and add some of the lemon juice. 

Italians don't tend to serve parmesan with fish dishes but I'm not Italian and I like it. To make all the Nona’s turn in their grave add a grating of parmesan and serve.

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