savory

post29 // an o’donnell family staple: clams and linguine

ImageClams and Linguine 

Over every college break, I go home and I eat a lot. It’s no secret that I love to cook and upon arriving in a large kitchen, I can’t help but meet the granite countertop with a smile. Nonetheless, I’ve got some steady competition in the kitchen at home: my mother and father. I guess I didn’t have to spell out that my two older brothers don’t frequent meal-making times because those of you who know them, well you already knew that.

I’m lucky enough to go to a college that still fits an Easter break into their academic calendar. This past Easter break, my first meal home was Clams and Linguine. As my brother Jake’s favorite meal, it’s a no-brainer that this dish is a family staple in the O’Donnell household. It was definitely a part of the rotationhamburgers, pork and saurkraut, sausages and peppers—that made up my dinners growing up. As seafood lovers, pasta fans, and Italians at food-heart, Clams and Linguine is a perfect fit for the O’Donnell’s. Both easy to make and beautiful to serve, we pull our Clams and Linguine recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. We typically use littleneck clams and at times disregard the bottled clam juice. The clam juice you buy in the store can hold a lot of unnecessary sodium so to replace, we will use white wine and olive oil as our base. To take the recipe up a notch, you can buy homemade linguine to anchor your clams in. Our favorite place to buy the pasta? Vace’s in Washington, D.C.

Intertwined in a pool of linguine, the clams are abundantly spread within, beneath, and above the pasta. The meal transforms from a simple seafood dish to a full-on Italian meal with garlic, oregano, parsley, and plenty olive-oil to flavor. I couldn’t recommend an effortless course tastier than this, so make sure you jot the recipe down!

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

Serves 6

Ingredients:

¾ cup best-quality olive oil

6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

4 dozen small clams, such as Littlenecks or Cherrystones, scrubbed, shucked, and chopped coarsely, all liquor reserved

About 2 cups bottled clam juice

½ cup finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

1½ teaspoons dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

24 fresh clams, in their shells, for garnish (optional)

1 pound linguine

Directions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy pot over low heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.

2. Combine the reserved clam liquor and enough bottled clam juice to make 3 cups. Add this to the pot along with the parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes. The sauce may be prepared ahead to this point.

3. Meanhwile, scrub the garnishing clams, if you are using them, and put them in another pan with water to a depth of 1 inch. Cover, and set the pan over high heat. Shake the pan or stir the clams and remove them as they open. Reserve them in their shells. Discard any clams that don’t open.

4. Bring 4 quarts salted water to a boil in a large pot. Drop in the linguine and cook until tender but still firm.

5. Meanwhile, reheat the sauce if you have allowed it to cool. Add the chopped clams and heat gently; clams should not overcook or they will become tough.

6. Drain the linguine and toss it with the sauce. Serve it in the pot, topped by the clam garnish, or transfer to individual wide soup bowls and garnish each serving with the clams in their shells.

1. Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy pot over low heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.

Recipe taken from The Silver Palate Cookbook: http://books.google.com/books?id=pokLqCAZFh0C&pg=PA91&lpg=PA91&dq=linguine+with+white+clam+sauce+silver+palate&source=bl&ots=gziX–Z8sE&sig=ZWpeREXd34X3udDyiN7oIPYfUYo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=LgJfU4PUMZHLsQSJyoCgDA&ved=0CEEQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=linguine%20with%20white%20clam%20sauce%20silver%20palate&f=false.

 

post18 // giada’s eggplant timbale: where meat, cheese, pasta, and eggplant reach an apex

Image

Stepping away from my traditional posts on Latin cuisine, I couldn’t resist writing about one of my favorite dishes of all time. As a big fan of many Giada recipes, this delicious Italian meal will leave you washing plates that have already been licked clean. If you’re unfamiliar with Giada de Laurentiis, I’m sorry. Then again, I’m not the sorry because you’re reading this post, which means you at least now know who she is.

Image

Look, there she is! Fitting that she’s holding an eggplant (wow, what a perfect transition into talking about the eggplant timbale!). Anyways, she’s got some great recipes, this one in particular coming from her book Giada’s Kitchen. For the past four years, my Dad Tom—who first inspired me to start cooking alongside baking— and I have cooked an eggplant timbale, fixing our previous errors each time and stuffing our faces together. I love cooking with my Dad and some of our recipe nights have been my greatest memories with him. But as any familial relationship goes, there are ups as tall as Kimye’s soon-to-be wedding cake and lows as low as the burnt bottom of a cookie pan that you just can’t quite scrape clean. While we struggled to agree on the pasta quantity that fills the eggplant covered pan, which then led to a time out for the two of us, I eventually won the portion squabble using my baking background as ammo for how to fill a spring-form pan. If this is the worst thing we’re fighting about, I think we’ve got it pretty good.

In terms of what this eggplant timbale actually is, let me explain. Tucked between the eggplant layering and the sprinkled pecorino cheese seen in the above photo is an outrageously delicious meat pasta made with Italian sausage, ground beef, onions, green peas, and mozzarella cheese. Despite two brothers who are not enamored with eggplant (unlike my Dad and I, self-trumpeted eggplant worshipers), the pasta makes up for what they perceive as a veggie distraction. I on the other hand, can’t help but enjoy every bite of my timbale helping, a tasteful blend of vegetables and cheesy meaty goodness.

Image

If you’re going to undertake this recipe, and it is an undertaking, please make sure to give yourself three hours from start to finish. Do not plan to do anything after you eat the meal because all you will want is your bed. Stick to the instructions! I cannot repeat these guidelines more to people I’ve shared this recipe with. If you don’t, you’ll wind up with a poor ratio between the different ingredients. With any extra pasta that doesn’t fit in the timbale, you can store it in a tupperware container for up to five days. That time period is the same for storing the eggplant timbale.

Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis:

Ingredients
2 medium eggplants, sliced 1/4-inch thick *I suggest buying the largest eggplants you can find
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound penne pasta
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound Italian pork sausage
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 cups store-bought marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups diced smoked mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus 1/4 cup
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Special equipment: 9-inch springform pan *You can use an 8-inch too, just be aware that you might not need as much eggplant

Directions

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or pre-heat a gas or charcoal grill. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the eggplant slices with 1/3 cup olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant until tender and colored with grill marks, about 4 minutes per side. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the beef and pork, and brown the meat, breaking it into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Add the Marsala and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the peas and marinara sauce and stir to combine. Add the cheeses, basil, and cooked pasta. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the springform pan with the grilled eggplant. Be sure that the slices overlap and hang over the edge of the pan. Fill the pan with the pasta mixture, pressing down to make sure the pan is filling up evenly. Fold the eggplant slices up over the top of the pasta and add a few more slices on top to completely enclose the timbale. Bake the timbale until warmed through and the cheese has melted, about 30 minutes. Let rest on the counter for 10 minutes to set.

To serve, invert the timbale onto a serving plate and remove the springform pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese over the top. Slice and serve.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/eggplant-timbale-recipe.html