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Archive for the ‘Comfort Food’ Category

Before I became a pescetarian, I hardly ever put seafood and pasta together. I always stuck with cooking, or ordering, beef bolognese, which is too bad. Seafood is a great compliment to pasta, especially shellfish.

I’ve never been a huge clam fan, but lately, I’ve given them a chance, and I’m glad I have. They’re becoming one of my favorites to work with and this recipe is in my top 5 pasta dishes.

If you’ve never cooked clams, please, don’t be intimidated. They practically do the work for you, so give them a try.

You can use any size of clam you want for this recipe, so don’t worry if you’re local seafood store only has one kind to choose from.

Let’s get started.

First, soak your clams in cold water for at least 20 minutes before cooking. Why, you ask? As clams breathe they filter water. When the fresh water is filtered, the clam pushes sand out of their shells. After 20 minutes, the clams should have released any sand in their shells.

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Also, get a pot of salted water going for your pasta.

While the clams are in a happy ice bath, and water is getting to the boiling point, let’s get everything else going.

Chop one large shallot and three to four cloves of garlic.

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Now, sauté the shallot and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to continuously stir, because you don’t want the garlic to burn.

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Now add one cup of wine, one tablespoon of butter, red pepper flakes, and the juice of one lemon. By the way, if you don’t have a hand held lemon/lime juicer, get one. The amount of juice you get from using one is way more than squeezing it with your hand.

Let this cook on medium heat for about five minutes. You want the alcohol from the wine to cook out.

Now add one can of clams.

I bet you’re saying, “What??? CANNED clams?”

Yes. Canned clams.

They add more clam flavor to the dish. If you don’t want to add them, you don’t have to. Also add one bottle of clam juice. This is a clam pasta dish, so you want all the clam flavor you can get. Just trust me.

Stir and let it simmer for a minute or two and then taste. You’ll notice I haven’t added salt up to this point. With the canned clams and bottled can juice, you may not want or need anymore salt. If you feel it needs more, add it to your taste. If you think it’s a little tart, add more butter.

Once you have it like you want, it’s time to add the clams, but first, put your pasta in the boiling water and cook ’til al dente.

While your pasta is cooking, put the clams in the sauce, and turn the heat up to medium-high. You can cover them, if you want, but I like to keep them moving. By moving them around, you can see which ones are opening. As soon as a clam opens, take it out and put it in a bowl. The reason I do this is so they don’t overcook while the others open.

Some will take longer, so be patient, and keep them moving around. Once you get most of them out of the sauce, and you see a few still are not opening, just toss them. If they don’t open, they’re not good.

Now, add your cooked (al dente) pasta to your sauce and stir around.

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Add your clams back to the pan and stir.

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Time to eat!!

One good addition to any saucy dish is crunchy bread!

My favorite local bread is made by Elmore Mountain Bread.

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Man, it doesn’t get any better than this!

(Of course, I added chopped parsley and a little grated parmesan.)

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What you’ll need:

2 lbs fresh clams

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of butter

1 cup of white wine (sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio)

1 large shallot, chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 can of clams

1 bottle of clam juice

1 lemon, juiced

1 box of spaghetti

Salt to taste

Red pepper flakes to taste

Chopped parsley (optional)

Grated parmesan (optional)

Crusty bread (optional)

Directions:

First, soak your clams for twenty minutes before cooking.

Get a pot of salted water going for your pasta.

Chop one whole shallot and three to four cloves of garlic. Sauté them in one tablespoon of olive oil on med heat for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to continuously stir, because you don’t want the garlic to burn.

Add one cup of wine, one tablespoon of butter, red pepper flakes, and the juice of one lemon. Let this cook on medium heat for about five minutes. You want the alcohol from the wine to cook out.

Add one can of clams and one bottle of clam juice.

Stir and let it simmer for a minute or two and then taste. You’ll notice I haven’t added salt up to this point. With the canned clams and bottle juice, you may not want or need anymore salt. If you feel it needs more, add it to your taste. If you think it’s a little tart, add more butter.

Put your pasta in the boiling water and cook ’til al dente.

While your pasta is cooking, put the clams in the sauce, and keep stirring them until they start opening. As soon as a clam opens, take it out and put it in a bowl. This will ensure they won’t overcook while the others begin to open. Be sure to discard the ones that do not open.

Add your cooked (al dente) pasta to your sauce and stir around. Then add your clams and stir one more time.

Enjoy!

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I remember the days of Hamburger Helper Stroganoff. It was a mainstay in my pantry when I was in my 20’s, and yes, even into my 30’s. I loved the stuff!

It’s one of my favorite comfort foods, and once I began upping my cooking game, I knew I had to find a way to make my own stroganoff recipe.

I call it Mushroom Stroganoff, but you’ll notice I used my favorite meat crumbles, and you could also use browned chicken, or browned ground beef, or or leave out the protein all together. It’s up to you.

So, let’s get to it.

First, cook one 16 ounce package of egg noodles. Be sure to cook them al dente, because they will cook more when you add them to the sauce.

Now, if you’re going to use meat, brown it, and then set it aside.

Next, chop and onion and slice your mushrooms. I did two medium onions and two packages of mushrooms. You can use more or less… it’s up to you.

Put them in a large pan (I use cast iron), and sauté them in two tablespoons of olive oil on med-high heat until the onions are just tender. Then, remove them from the pan, and set aside.

Now, it’s time to make a roux.

In the same pan, melt two tablespoons of butter and add two tablespoon of flour. Whisk until you get a smooth mixture. If it’s dry at all, add more butter. While continuing to whisk, cook for at least one or two minutes.

Now add four cups of milk and whisk away. Keep the heat on med-high and whisk continuously. This will thicken the sauce.

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Once it gets thick, so it can cover the back of a wooden spoon, it’s time to add flavor and spices.

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The spices are: salt, pepper, onion powder, chopped garlic, red pepper flakes. Also, add dashes of worcestershire sauce.

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Mix it all together, and then add 1 cup of sour cream, and whisk it in. As you can see, I use Cabot. Seriously, if you’ve never tried their sour cream (or any of their products), do it! It’s simply amazing and SO MUCH better than any other product out there.

 Now, taste it. What do you think it needs? I usually have to add a little more salt and red pepper flakes.

After adjusting the flavor to your liking, add the mushrooms, onions, meat (if you’re using it), and grated pecorino romano cheese. Stir it all together.

Now, add your cooked egg noodles and stir them in.

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Time to put it in a bowl and devour!

Of course, I topped mine with extra grated pecorino romano and parsley.

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So yummy!! Enjoy!

What you’ll need:

1 package of egg noodles

Browned meat of your choice (optional)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 large onion

2 packages of mushrooms of your choice (I used baby bellas)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

4 cups of milk (at least 2%)

1 cup of sour cream

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoon red pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

7-10 dashes of worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated.

Directions:

First, cook one 16 ounce package of egg noodles. Be sure to cook them al dente, because they will cook more when you add them to the sauce.

Now, if you’re going to use meat, brown it, and then set it aside.

Next, chop and onion and slice your mushrooms. Put them in a large pan (I use cast iron), and sauté them in two tablespoons of olive oil on med-high heat until the onions are just tender. Then, remove them from the pan, and set aside.

In the same pan, melt two tablespoons of butter and add two tablespoon of flour. Whisk until you get a smooth mixture. If it’s dry at all, add more butter. While continuing to whisk, cook for at least one or two minutes.

Now add four cups of milk and whisk away. Keep the heat on med-high and whisk continuously. This will thicken the sauce.

Once it gets thick, so it can cover the back of a wooden spoon, it’s time to add salt, pepper, onion powder, chopped garlic, red pepper flakes. Also, add dashes of worcestershire sauce. Stir it all together and then mix in the sour cream.

Now, taste it. What do you think it needs?

After adjusting the flavor to your liking, add the mushrooms, onions, meat (if you’re using it), and grated pecorino romano cheese. Stir it all together.

Now, add your cooked egg noodles and stir them in.

Time to eat!

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