Jamie Oliver has a fun new cookbook: Comfort Food. It features comforting recipes from around the world. Recipes include a rich Curried Fish Pie, Chicken Kiev, and a Chocolate Celebration Cake. These are not simple recipes (though the one below is). They are made for a day when you have time to cook, or you want to pull out the stops with something wow! Or, in this recipe, something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I love spaghetti in clam sauce. It’s always been one of my favorite comfort foods. Most are based on white wine and don’t have tomatoes. This one cooks the clams in dry rosé wine and has a bit of tomatoes for more pink color and added flavor. Very comforting!
This is a recipe that depends on mise en place: having everything ready once you start cooking. It takes about 10 minutes and you do not have time to do any prep once you get going. Look over each raw clam. If it’s open and won’t shut when you tap it, toss it. It’s dead. Any clams that don’t open after steaming are dead and should be pitched. Clams open very wide when they are cooked so it’s obvious which ones are duds.
Blushing Spaghetti Vongole
(serves 2 generously)
10 oz. dry linguine pasta
salt for pasta cooking water
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 small red ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
6 large sprigs of fresh parsley
1 large pinch of crushed red pepper
2 Tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste (sold in a tube)
2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ pounds small clams in the shell, scrubbed clean
¾ cup dry rosé wine
Combine the garlic, tomatoes, crushed red pepper, and tomato paste in a bowl. Set aside. Chop the parsley leaves and set aside. Thinly slice the smaller stems and add to the bowl with the other ingredients.
Get a large pot of water boiling and add a tablespoon of salt. Add the linguine and set the timer for 3 minutes. When it goes off, set a large covered skillet over high heat and reset the timer for 4 more minutes. When the pan is hot, 30 seconds, add 1 Tablespoon of oil, swirl it around, and add the ingredients in the bowl. Stir around for 30 seconds, then add the clams. Toss around, add the wine, and cover. After 2 minutes, remove the lid. The clams will be starting to pop open. Check the pasta. If done, drain. If not, cook for another minute. Once all the clams have opened, toss in the drained pasta and the chopped parsley leaves. To serve, mound into bowls with all the juices for bread dipping, and garnish with some more olive oil. Serve with a glass of dry rosé wine, of course!
Adapted for altitude from Comfort Food by Jamie Oliver