Italians are nothing short of genius(es) when it comes to the kitchen. They're well known for making something out of nothing and morphing it into a huge bowl of incredible tasting pasta. One of my favorites is a simple pasta, flavored with garlic and olive oil, lots of anchovies, crunchy bread crumbs and a snowfall of pecorino romano cheese. I figured I'd just steal a little inspiration from it to create last night's dinner.
Now you all know we love clams around here partly due to the fact Big Guy harvests a ton of 'em every year during our month on the Oregon coast. We bring the meat back to the desert all cleaned up and pretty in a cooler full of dry ice so we can enjoy and revisit our beloved Pacific Northwest whenever the spirit moves us.
We also love a good feed of Clam's Casino and while we've had it before in its original state, as a casserole and even on a pizza, last night was the first go round at including all the ingredients in a bowl of pasta. I'm not quite sure why we didn't try it before.
Onions, shallots, lots of garlic, chopped multi colored sweet bell peppers and bacon, joined together with the all important clams to make the dish. Dressed with fresh parsley and crunchy garlic flavored bread crumbs, I'd say it was mostly successful although next time I'll add even more garlic and maybe a few anchovies too for more of a kick.
To be honest, if I had to choose a favorite among the 4 of them, I'd say the pizza is the best, hands down! Just sayin'.
Clams Casino Pasta (an original from JBug’s Kitchen Antics inspired by Biba, Giada, Nick and a host of other great Italian chefs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, 2 whole and 1 minced
2 slices fresh bread, processed into crumbs (I used Texas toast)
4 ounces bacon, chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped mixed mini sweet peppers
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1 package Swanson’s Seafood Flavor Boost
1 cup chopped clams
12 ounces spaghetti, cooked per package directions
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Coarse ground black pepper
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Place oil and 2 whole garlic cloves into a large sauté pan and heat over low heat, stirring constantly until garlic starts to turn golden in color. Remove garlic from pan and discard. Add bread crumbs and sauté stirring often until crumbs are crisp and golden brown. Remove to a paper towel and set aside to drain.
Return pan to medium heat and add bacon. Cook until bacon is crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onion, shallots, minced garlic, chopped sweet peppers, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes to pan and cook until onion is softened (about 4 to 5 minutes). Add white wine and flavor boost to pan, along with clams. Bring mixture to a simmer then toss in cooked spaghetti and enough hot water to form a sauce. Add parsley, season with black pepper and move ingredients to a serving platter or bowl. Top with crispy bacon, bread crumbs and lots of freshly grated Romano cheese. Makes 4 servings.
A year ago - Portobello Mushrooms with Italian Stuffing
Two year's ago - Moroccan Serpent Pie