Monday, August 15, 2011

What's for Dinner?

When I see my friends at the gym most mornings they ask me what I'm making for dinner that night.  I never have any idea.  New York City picks out my dinner for me each night.  Whether I see something at the fruit and vegetable stand to build a meal around or if I see something enticing at the store, I just wait for inspiration to hit.

Take your clams and mussells out of the bag and put them in a bowl when you get them home from the store.  They can die in a sealed bag.  If you have a long commute home ask the fish monger to puncture holes into the bag so they can breathe. You can still keep them in the fridge.  Don't put them in water.

On Sunday I noticed a delicous looking linguine with clam sauce through the window at Josephina's restaurant right around the corner from the Y.  Done and done - I knew what I was having for dinner that night.

When I got to Citarella I noticed mussells near the cockles I planned to buy so this was going to be a variation on linguine with clams.  I figured having both would make things more interesting and visually attractive.  I also decided to use cherry tomatoes and garlic as well.

I never cooked mussells at home before my cooking classes in Amalfi.  I thought you would boil them and it didn't appeal to me.  But I learned that all you have to do is sautee some garlic along with cherry tomatoes.  Next add the mussells and finally the cockles.  I did add some white wine and saffron at the end along with a ladle of water from the pasta water.  This gives a little starchiness to thicken the sauce.

I bought this fancy pasta but plain old linguine works too

At the end toss the pasta right into the pan and mix thoroughly - this makes sure that all the pasta is covered with the delicious sauce

Et Viola!


1/2 pound mussells per person
1/4 pound cockles per person
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
8 threads of saffron
1 lemon
salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Place non-stick pan over medium heat.  Pour the olive oil and drop in the butter.  Add the cherry tomatoes (cut in half).  Sautee for a minute or two and add the chopped garlic cloves.  Next add the mussells and cook for a minute before adding cockles.  Cut the lemon in half and add to mixture with the open sides down on the heat. You'll know when the mussells and cockles are done when they start to open.  If any don't open discard them.  Meanwhile, have a pot of pasta going on the stovetop (follow instructions on package).  When the mussells start to open add the white wine and saffron.  Ladle in some of the pasta water - don't get carried away - about 1/4 - 1/3 cup.  When the pasta has cooked drain then put the pasta in the pan with the other ingredients and toss well.  Put mixture in a large bowl and dig in!

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