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Simple everyday pasta sauces

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38 replies to this topic

#31 Anna N

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 12:24 PM

If you're able to get fresh clams, you can whip up spaghetti con vongole in minutes. Canned is okay but it's not quite the same.Warm some olive oil in a pot, add a crushed garlic clove and an anchovy fillet. When the anchovy has disintegrated, add the clams and a glug of white wine. The traditional recipe omits the wine but I sometimes include it depending on feel. Cover the pot and turn it down to medium-low. Steam until the clams pop open. Discard any that don't. Strain the liquid in the pot and set the strained liquid aside.Prepare your dried pasta (i.e., bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add your dried pasta and cook until al dente).Transfer the clams to a bowl and shuck them, making sure to reserve the clam juices. You can chop them if you like, or leave them whole. Warm some olive oil in a pan. Add the clams, clam juices and the reserved liquid from when you steamed the clams. Cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add copious handfuls of chopped Italian parsley. Cook for 1-2 more minutes. Ideally your pasta should be done by now. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid. Add the cooked, drained pasta to the pan with the clams. Toss. If the pasta seems too dry, add a little pasta cooking liquid. How much depends on whether you like the sauce "brothy". Taste for salt and pepper, then serve at once.If you're using canned clams, you could start by making a battuto of chopped garlic, olive oil and chopped Italian parsley. Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until it turns a pale gold, then add the parsley. Cook for 1 more minute, then add your chopped clams and clam juices. The sauce is done when the clams are heated through. Taste for salt and pepper, then combine with the pasta as directed above.For some people, this entire procedure is a "production", but to me, it's pretty simple and takes about 40 minutes from beginning to end. Making bolognese is complicated by comparison. Depends on your point of view I suppose.

I've always wanted to try pasta with clams but obtaining fresh clams is a bit challenging. The possibility of using canned clams brings it back into thre realm of possibility. I'm sure it falls short of perfection but sometimes what's possible must trump what's perfect. Thanks for the inspiration.
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#32 rotuts

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 12:47 PM

please try this.  taste a bit of the 'broth' they are in first and then decide if you want to rinse them.


garlic helps  as does fresh chopped parsley  either kind based on your personal pref.s


if there is in the GTA a 'good' Italian shop, that makes there own pasta and sauces, some of them make 'clam sauce' and freeze it


on Long Island when I lived and suffered there, there was a place like this on one of the upper 'parkways'


their frozen clam sauce was to die for.  not red.  white.


it was toward NYC.  from where i lived.  if you jugged the traffic correctly, it was an OK trip.


I wish I had that stuff now.

Edited by rotuts, 27 March 2014 - 12:49 PM.

#33 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 01:11 PM

You can see there's a pattern to most of the ideas that have been presented thus far.

The Italian pasta sauce pantry is pretty basic: olive oil, garlic, onions, anchovies, herbs (parsley, mint, oregano, rosemary, basil). tomatoes for tomato-based sauces. cream and butter. wine (either white or red). capers. olives. oil-packed tuna. wine vinegar.

To that, I'd add breadcrumbs preferably made from stale bread and fried in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. A hit of anchovy if you want, but plain is all right. Use as you would cheese.

I haven't even touched slightly more complicated preps, ones that involve fresh vegetables and occasionally, fruit. Things like pasta con le zucchine. Or pasta e piselli. Or pasta e melone.

Then, there are meat-based sauces, some of which are not as complicated as you might think.

Edited by SobaAddict70, 27 March 2014 - 01:14 PM.

#34 rotuts

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 01:18 PM

""  oil-packed tuna ""


Yum. thanks for the reminder.  Ill look into a lottery ticket today   :huh:


I had somewhere in the past a book by AdA Boni.  its of course wandered off  it might be this book :




but perhaps not.


this one looks more like it, perhaps the same book:


http://www.amazon.co...ywords=ada boni


it had  hundreds of 'pasta' Rx's in it.  few w red sauce.  I used to marvel at the dishes that were in it.

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#35 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 01:39 PM


I don't know where you are in Boston, but it doesn't cost much I don't think.

Costs something like $2-$3 at Trader Joe's, and I don't even shop there.

I like the Silver Spoon book myself, for ideas. There's one that they made that just has pasta recipes.

#36 rotuts

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 01:46 PM

I have the Silver Spoon  thanks for the reminder


Ill take a peek at TJ's


3 $$ is a bit more than 25 cents a can    :huh:


at least its bit less than the Plonk I routinely get there


if you are a student of exceptional cookbooks:


look into this used:  Frog Commissary Cookbook :




look at Powells etc  abe books


its the best niche cookbook Ive ever seen.

#37 SobaAddict70

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 01:52 PM

I usually don't cook from cookbooks.

I am really picky about cookbooks. really is probably the wrong word. "EXTREMELY" is big bold neon letters on the Hollywood Hills-kind of picky.

I have Artusi's, which I use as a reference work and occasionally for ideas. Marcella's "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking". Lynne Rossetto Kasper's "The Splendid Table". There are a few others, including one of Mario B's which a roommate gave to me when I was ... ahem, less enlightened.

Unless it's something I've never made before, I usually don't bother with cookbooks. Some Italian techniques, once you learn one, you can apply it to a wide range of dishes.

#38 Okanagancook

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 05:04 PM


Chopped clams. Oh, that's a great idea because the canned ones can be a little tough. We don't has ready access to fresh clams so I have to rely on good quality bottled or canned clams...usually the bottled ones are better. Thanks.
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#39 Sophie Cook

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 05:11 AM

If you're after something super quick and simple Cacio e Pepe is a winner every time! 


I always use the recipe from Giallo Zafferano: http://ricette.giall...cio-e-Pepe.html

website: www.cookscook.co.uk

email: sophie@cookscook.co.uk

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