Saturday, November 17, 2007

linguine with clams & mussels

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I'm acutely aware that there are certain luxuries I can only enjoy at this point in my life. Take today, for example: I got up, took a shower, and then took a nap. I'm pretty sure that's not the morning routine of a woman who is married with children. However, it was fabulously relaxing, so I'll continue to enjoy Saturday mornings like this while I can.

Anyway, following my morning nap, I headed out the door to do some Christmas present scouting. I'll have a fairly light load when I travel home next week, so I thought perhaps I could pick up a few gifts and take them with me. The shopping trip was a great success. I bought three things for myself...and nothing for anyone else. It's typical, though. My holiday shopping always begins this way. Holidays = sales, so if I've had my eye on something that is now on sale, why wouldn't I pick it up? Especially if that "it" is the new Williams-Sonoma Holiday Turkey Cake Pan -- it's not even Thanksgiving yet and they've already discounted it from $35 to $14.95. Happy day!

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I swung by the new Red Mango store (yogurt was good; mango only OK) to celebrate the new addition to my cake pan collection (I've taken to calling him "Mr. Turkey Head") and then headed home to make the dinner you see above. What you don't see above, however, is linguine. I got a mandoline for my birthday and I purchased the rouet attachment for it, so I thought I would try my hand at creating angel-hair zucchini instead of using regular pasta. Since I'm sure 99.9% of the people who read this blog don't own a kitchen tool like a rouet, I won't talk at length about it, but it was pretty satisfying to know that instead of a big bowl of starch and carbs, I ate a huge serving of vegetables and hardly noticed the difference. (The recipe below is for regular pasta preparation, but I'll be happy to include more information about the using the mandoline or rouet upon request.)

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Alright, wrapping up here.... Zucchini preparation aside, from start to finish, this dish only took about 30 minutes to make. Steaming the shellfish with garlic and white wine -- a classic combination -- yields a delicious sauce that begs to be soaked up with a slice of hearty bread. It was a perfectly indulgent way to cap off my first self-centered holiday shopping trip of the season.

Linguine with Clams & Mussels
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma's Complete Pasta Cookbook
Serves 6

1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 shallots, peeled and minced*
6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine**
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 lbs small clams, scrubbed
2 lbs mussels, scrubbed and debearded

6 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1 lb linguine

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter until foamy. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the shallots and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and wine, increase the heat to medium, and simmer until the liquid is evaporated by one-third, about 7 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Add the clams and mussels, discarding any that do not close when tapped. Cover the pan tightly and simmer until the shellfish just open, 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard any shellfish that do not open. Cover and keep warm.

In a large pot over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and the linguine and cook according to the package directions. Drain. Combine the shellfish and cooking liquid with the linguine and toss to mix well. Serve immediately.

* As you can see from the 2-inch long strips in the pictures, I am totally lazy and rarely mince when I'm supposed to. Though I have to admit that I also kind of like the visual appeal of the larger pieces....

** I used a Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc by Robert Mondavi.


  1. Great photos! and a solid recipe! I loved every bit of it!

  2. Thanks! Thumbs up to all-vegetable, carb-free pasta.