Sunday, February 9, 2014

Carmela Soprano's Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce

The Valentine wish with the picture of the puppy reminded me of the dogs in Disney’s cartoon Lady and the Tramp.
Remember the scene in the restaurant?
The one where they shared a plate of spaghetti to the tune Bella Notte?
Not a bad way to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day.

If you’re craving an Italian dinner but it’s too late to make a reservation in the local Italian restaurant - or you just want to stay home - no problem.
Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce, one of the recipes in Entertaining with the Sopranos which I chatted about back in 2010, would do just fine. 

Make it a dinner and a movie night…
Rent Sophia Loren's Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
This movie goes especially well with Carmela’s Spaghetti Puttanesca.


Carmela got a little specific in this recipe:
3 pounds very small clams, such as Manila or mahogany clams, or New Zealand cockles (or mussels).
I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The local stores carry mussels from Prince Edward Island.
So, I made Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce using P. E. I. mussels.

If you are using mussels…
After the mussels have soaked, scrub them with a stiff brush to scrape off any barnacles or seaweed.
Discard any mussels with cracked shells.
Also those that don't close tightly when tapped.
Debeard by pulling the beards toward the narrow end of the shell.

This can be a great recipe for any holiday.
All that prep work probably saves someone from a punch in the nose.
As does Carmela’s recipe for Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce - Zuppa di Cozze.

                        Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce

Serves 4 - 6

With a stiff brush scrub under running water
3 pounds very small clams, such as Manila or mahogany clams, or New Zealand cockles (or mussels) 
Debeard them and place them in a bowl.
Rinse several times until there is no sand left in the bowl.
Throw away the clams with broken shells or ones that don’t close up tightly.

In a dutch oven pour
1/3 Cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
a pinch of crushed red pepper
Cook, stirring over medium heat, for about 2 minutes.
You want the garlic to be lightly golden.
Stir in
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
pinch of salt to 
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are softened about 5 minutes. 
Add the clams, cover the pot, and cook 10 minutes. 
Discard any clams that haven’t opened. 

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
Stir in
1 pound spaghetti or linguine
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente.
Set aside 1 Cup of the cooking water.
Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce in the pot.
Cooking over medium heat, toss the pasta until it is coated.
Add some of the reserved cooking water if it seems too dry.
Remove from heat.

Serve immediately.

So is Sophia in Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
And, with enough pasta and wine, you can be, too.

Wishing you a Bella Notte.

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