My Dad is the best. Over the holidays, I decided that my Dad needed to do some culinary exploring. And I knew that he would be more than happy to do some cooking with me.
Growing up I always remember my Dad for making those big delicious meals. On a Sunday I’d get up to see that he’d already gone to the store and picked up a turkey, or a flank steak (my personal favorite, right Dad?), or the makings for a delicious summer barbeque. You know, the kinds of meals that you could just eat and eat and eat. Until you felt ready to explode. Then you’d have some more. Oh, and he makes the BEST scrambled eggs with corned beef hash. No joke.
So for Christmas, Dad got some gourmet gifts from O & Co. on Newbury Street. The ingredients for a great dinner: chili infused olive oil, basil pesto, olives, and pici pasta. He was a happy camper, and even happier when I told him this meant he had to make dinner with me, and that steamed clams would be involved.
To find clams, we ended up at about 5 different stores. We obviously decided to do this the same day the blizzard hit NY, but we were persistent, and we finally found Cherry Stone clams to use. In a blizzard. Some things in life are important.
Pasta and Clam Sauce with Steamed Clams
Ingredients for the Pasta and Clam Sauce:
- 1 pound of pasta (recommended: fettuccine, linguine, or spaghetti – we used the pici pasta, but that’s not so easy to find)
- Olive oil
- Chili infused olive oil (optional)
- 1/2 a medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 2 small cans (6.5 oz each) Snow’s Bumblebee chopped clams
- 1/4 cup of the liquid from the steamed clams
Ingredients for the Steamed Clams:
- Fresh Littleneck or Cherry Stone clams (we used 36 Cherry Stone clams, but use as many as you want)
- Olive oil
- Chile infused olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, diced finely
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 cup of a white wine (pick one you like)
To prepare the clams, submerge them in a large bowl with cold water. This will help any dirt come out of the clams before cooking. I let them sit for about an hour before I started cooking. Also, put on the water for the pasta to come to a boil.
In a large pot, add both olive oils for the steamed clams over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and let them cook until they turn translucent.
Drain the clams well, then transfer them to the pot. Add the white wine and cover. Let the clams steam over medium heat. Once they open fully, they will be ready to eat. This took about 25 minutes.
While the clams are steaming, add both olive oils for the sauce to a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook about 5 minutes. Add the olives and tomatoes, and reduce heat to medium-low. Let cook while you wait for the pasta water to boil, stirring occasionally.
Once water is boiled, add pasta and cook according to directions.The pici pasta took at least 20 minutes to cook. It is a much thicker pasta, which needed more time than the usual fettuccine or linguine.
With about 4 minutes left on the pasta, add the chopped clams and liquid from the steamed clams to the sauce. Stir and let simmer for about another 5-10 minutes before serving.
At this point, your clams should be ready and open. Discard any that did not open.
Serve the sauce over the pasta, with the steamed clams on the side to enjoy together.
Everything was so good. The chili infused olive oil gave it just a slight kick in the back of your throat, very slight but a great flavor.
Thanks for cooking with me Daddy! He asked if we cold make it again for breakfast the next morning, so I think it’s safe to assume he liked it. I already have our next meal together planned out.
We also made some toasted bread by cutting up Italian bread, brushing both sides with olive oil, then toasting it under the broiler of the oven for about 2 minutes per side. We used the basil pesto as a spread and it was awesome.
And the best part about cooking? The unspoken rule is that if you cook, everyone else cleans. Thanks to our clean-up crew: my sister Melissa, her boyfriend George, and my little munchkin Abby, who just loves to help.
Ready for our next meal Dad?