The minute after I put the kids to bed, I fill up the bathtub and step inside. My husband is cooking. I bought the ingredients and gave him his task. I want linguini with clams. He loves it when I give him a good cooking challenge, but this one, he says, is easy.
When I get out of the tub, I slip on a summer dress and set the table. There’s no occasion. It’s just nice to make a non-special night feel special. My table cloth, napkins and candles are from Target and my place mats are Home Goods. I think it looks PERFECT.
My husband beams as he sets down the plates and then, he takes a million photos because he’s proud and he knows I’m writing this story. I dive in the moment he says “go.” Oh, boy. It’s the best linguine with clams I’ve ever had. He tweaked the recipe from Mario Batali, who tweaked the recipe from epicurious.com. Here’s what we did. Well, what my husband did:
Linguini with Clams Recipe:
Cooking time: 30 minutes, give or take.
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 pound linguine
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3-5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound clams, scrubbed (from Eastchester Fish Market)
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 pound fresh minced clams with juice (from Eastchester Fish Market)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped. Reserve and tie together stems with butcher’s twine. (Not probably necessary, but my husband likes to be fancy.)
Bring a pot of water to boil, add salt, and cook one box of dried linguine according to manufacturer’s directions. Hint: add pasta when water is at a roiling boil and keep it at that state until it’s 1 minute short of al dente. Drain, toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over moderate-high heat, heat 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil until hot. Add garlic and sauté until just golden, about 30 seconds. Add clams and half the red pepper flakes and sauté 1 minute. Add wine, tomatoes, minced clams with juice, and tied parsley stems and simmer, uncovered, just until clams open, 7 to 8 minutes.
Add linguine to pan. Simmer, tossing occasionally, until linguine is just tender, about 1 minute. Remove parsley stems and discard. Add remaining chopped parsley and remaining red pepper. Toss to coat. Transfer to serving dish and serve immediately.
The meal was perfect and not expensive: the whole clams and fresh minced clams were $11, plus the cost of everything else brought the meal to about $30 including wine. He made garlic bread to soak up some of the juices. It was the perfect summer meal. YUM.