Weekend Dish – Little Neck Clams and Veggie Pasta

Let me preface this post and say I think I am a pretty decent cook but I have learned a lot from the food network and experimenting.  My favorite way to cook is to look up new recipes and cook based off of a few different ones.  I am a former chemist – a lot of measuring and exactness.  Other former colleagues of mine LOVE to bake – it mimics chemistry very well.  Precise measurements, following a recipe, etc.   Perhaps I was looking for the opposite…I love to fly by the seat of my pants and just go for it.  I am not saying I never follow a recipe but I have the most fun when I make it up as I go along (after proper research on foodnetwork.com of course!).  Andy and I love to try new things (which is amazing since when I met Andy, he almost exclusively ate reuben sandwiches when we went out to eat).  He is the grill master, expert chopper (this started with my dislike of chopping onions), and rigorous cleaner-upper.  (Much to my dismay sometimes when the kitchen tool I am still using ends up in the dishwasher too soon!)  I am typically the planner, cook and mess-maker.  I hope you look forward to my new posts titled Weekend Dish.

We went to the farmer’s market in Stonington Borough  this weekend and the bonus with New England farmer’s markets is fresh seafood.  We missed out on the local shrimp  (we will be getting there promptly at 9am next week) but decided to branch out and get little neck clams (which we have never ever cooked prior to today).  We also picked up a 1/4 lb of Stonington (local) scallops.

The scallops were easy – pan-fried in butter (with minced garlic) until golden brown.  Add a bit of paprika and a squeeze of lemon while cooking.  They were super tasty and a perfect appetizer while finishing up our pasta dish.  (1/4 lb was 5 scallops – a little bigger than quarter sized).

On to the little neck clams.  After an exhaustive search of foodnetwork.com, I found that a lot of people like to put sausage with their clams.  We will definitely try this next time but my plan this time was to use up some summer squash (from a neighbor) and some broccoli (also bought at the farmer’s market)  I decided on a garlic pasta with veggies and clams.

Ingredients:

Olive oil
3 garlic cloves
onion, diced (maybe 1/3 of a yellow onion – leftovers from gazpacho night)
crushed red pepper flakes (a few shakes of the mongo sized container)
White wine (chardonnay)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 dozen little neck clams, washed and scrubbed
fresh linguine (from grocery store)
broccoli (from farmer’s market)
summer squash (diced, from wonderful neighbors)
salt

1. start pot of water to boil.  salt water.

2. Heat skillet with olive oil (barely covering bottom of pan)

3.  Add garlic cloves and onion to skillet and add a few shakes of crushed red pepper.  After about 3 minutes, garlic and onions are softening but not browned – remove garlic.

4. Add 1/4 white wine and juice of 1/2 lemon.  Bring to a simmer.

5. Add pasta to boiling water and cook al dente.

6. Add clams to skillet and cover.  Cook until clams open up.  Throw out clams that do not open – we had 1.

At this point, we weren’t entirely sure what to do but didn’t want to overcook the clams.  Most recipes said to wait until they all open then dump into pasta.  I was nervous about overcooking so I removed about three at a time as they became fully opened.  One clam didn’t open at all so we threw it away.

7. Remove pasta from water and put in large serving bowl.

8.  Add broccoli to boiling pasta water for 3 minutes to slightly cook.

9.  While the clams were cooking, we added zucchini into the skillet.

10.  Dump entire skillet into the pasta bowl along with cooked broccoli.

11.  Toss pasta (this is where you would add the pasta water to make more sauce if needed…if your husband didn’t already dump out the pasta water and clean the pot).  Luckily we didn’t need any extra moisture.

I did add some fresh ground sea salt to the pasta at the table.

I wish I would have remembered to take a photo before we ate after all this is a photography blog…I remembered half way thru and figured noone would really want to see a half eaten plate of clam and veggie pasta.  Tomorrow we will have leftover pasta and veggies with leftover chicken.  Hannah liked the pasta but didn’t try the clams…she only eats her clams fried with ketchup.  Leah wouldn’t even try it.

And because this is a photo blog and I forgot a food photo.  One of my Dora lover digging her toes in the sand on the beach in Stonington Borough before we headed over to the farmer’s market.

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