pasta

Linguine with Clams

LINGUINE WITH CLAMS

And, just like that, we're in August. How the heck did that happen? The other night, I told Eric that we need to make more of an effort to enjoy the Cape house. The whole family has put in a lot of work this year, but it's important that we take a little time off to relax. Even a swim at the end of the day would do a lot to help us decompress. I don't want the summer to go by and for us to feel like we didn't take some time for ourselves.  The hard work is paying off though. The kitchen is done (wooooo) and now one of the bathrooms is being tackled. It's very exciting to be staying there. I'm starting to get used to it... but it's also a little weird still.

I'm not usually one for pasta in the summer, but something came over me the other day and I just needed a big bowl of linguine with clams. The addition of chopped tomatoes, fresh arugula, and a bunch of parsley keep it from being too heavy. It's a dish best served to dinner guests al fresco with a bottle of red. But it works just as well for one or two, providing leftovers for at least another meal. And who doesn't love leftovers? 

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LINGUINE WITH CLAMS

SERVINGS
Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS
1 pound linguine
2 pounds littleneck clams
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
8 cloves of garlic, minced
4 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups arugula
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
Salt
Olive oil
Grated parmesan cheese, optional

DIRECTIONS
1. Bring a 8 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt, olive oil and the linguine and cook according to packaging, approximately 9 minutes. 

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven (or a large lidded pot) set over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.

3. Add clams and white wine. Cover the Dutch oven and cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until all the clams have are wide open. Remove the lid and set heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook sauce until liquid has reduced a little, about 4 minutes. 

4. Once the pasta is done cooking, drain linguine and add to pan with the sauce. Add butter, chopped parsley and arugula and toss to combine. 

5. Serve pasta in bowls, along with a few clams and, if desired, grated Parmesan cheese.

Garlicky Penne with Butternut Squash, Broccoli Rabe and Cannellini Beans

I've stopped accidentally marking things with "2016," which is how I know we're fully set in the new year. I'm kind of excited to see what these months have in store for us. There are lots of unknowns, of course, but unlike previous years where I felt nervous about the uncertainty of it all, I'm now going to try to approach it all a little differently. Try and go with the flow a bit more. I don't have any resolutions this year. There are the same ones that linger with me each day... read more, exercise more, travel.  On that last item, I think we're going to struggle a bit with finding time to do a big trip this year as this past fall, Eric and I (along with his brother and his wife) purchased a house on the Cape.  It needs a bit of love, so we'll be spending any available days working on that. With that said, the two of us are looking at doing a couple of long weekends this winter to some spots around New England. This weekend, we'll be staying in Northampton. It's a cute town, one that I really haven't spent much time in (my last real visit was in '99). In February, we're hoping to take a drive up to Portland, which has been on my list for a while. From what I've heard, has an incredible culinary scene (which is just what we want to experience when we travel). Always looking for recommendations (though we have quite the list going here), so if anyone's been, feel free to share your favorite spots. 

GARLICKY PENNE WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH, BROCCOLI RABE AND CANNELLINI BEANS  

SERVINGS
6 people

INGREDIENTS
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 lb broccoli rabe, trimmed and washed
1, 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained of liquid and rinsed
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1 lb box of penne
Olive oil
Salt
Red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. In a bowl, toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread across the baking pan in a single layer. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, stirring the butternut squash every 15 minutes to allow it to cook evenly.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook penne as directed on the box, but five minutes before it is done cooking, add the broccoli rabe. When the five minutes are up, drain the pasta and broccoli rabe into a colander. Transfer to a serving bowl.

In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously. Add beans to the pan and cook for another 30 seconds. Pour garlic, beans, and olive oil on top of the pasta and toss to coat the penne with oil. Transfer roasted butternut squash to the serving bowl, followed by the toasted almonds and red pepper flakes, and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and, if necessary, season with additional salt. 

Creamy Penne with Shrimp and Broccoli

This post is sponsored by Parrano Cheese. Thank you for supporting the brands that make A Thought For Food possible.

These last couple of weeks have been pretty packed. Eric and I went down to New Jersey at the beginning of the month to see my family. Most of our visits tend to be centered around holidays or birthdays, but for this trip we just went down to spend a few days with everyone and it made for a more relaxing stay. My parents even took us out to a great Mediterranean restaurant in Montclair called MishMish Cafe, where we got to eat some of the best pita and hummus I've had outside of Israel. A really fantastic and cozy spot that I can't wait to return to. When we got back, I immediately jumped into a variety of photo shoots... restaurants, events, and a cookbook. I know at some point I'll able to take a breath, but, for now, I'm just tearing through all this work. 

The weather has been so weird lately, with drastic fluctuations in temperature occurring daily. But apparently my body doesn't care about any of that because it's craving all the comfort foods. Roasted squash and soups and pasta. Lots and lots of pasta. I want it all the time. Now, I have some will power (very little, but some) and, so, I try to refrain from making it too often. However, when I do, I like to go big.  So, in working with Parrano cheese, I knew I wanted to use it for a wonderful, rich sauce. I grew up an Alfredo sauce lover and, in many ways, this is what this dish reminds me of. It's got the same salty and nutty notes of a Parmesan, but it's super creamy too. The pairing of the shrimp and broccoli make it feel a bit more substantial (and give it some nice color). And there's the finishing touches of cracked black pepper and fresh parsley that takes it beyond a decadent plate and round out the flavors. It's a simple recipe that comes together rather easily (everything cooks at the same time and can be tossed together in a bowl... which is my idea of the perfect dish).

To see where you can get your hands on some Parrano (so you can make this pizza), check out their store locator. 

Creamy Penne with Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli (Featuring Parrano Cheese)

Ingredients

For the cheese sauce
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
2 cups finely grated Parrano Cheese
Garlic Powder
Salt 

For the roasted shrimp and broccoli
1 large head broccoli, about 1 pound, cut into small florets
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Olive oil
Salt
1 lb boxed penne, cooked

Fresh cracked black pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a mixing bowl, toss broccoli and shrimp with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with 2 teaspoons salt. Spread across baking sheet and place in oven. Cook for 16 minutes, taking it out half way through to give it a stir.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour. Once combined with butter, add 1 cup milk and whisk until dissolved. Whisk Parrano Cheese into milk mixture. Once smooth, lower heat to a simmer. Season with garlic powder and salt. Keep warm until ready to use.

In a serving bowl, toss cooked penne with sauce. Mix in roasted broccoli and shrimp. Transfer to a platter or bowl and season with fresh cracked black pepper and chopped parsley.