Friday, March 12, 2010
Clams in Red Sauce Over Bucatini
A true lover of food not only has to know good food, but know how to cook, in my opinion that is. My love for cooking stemmed since I was an innocent lass, not knowing the difference between real cheese and the amorphous cheese whiz. There was no epiphany such as many others have claimed. It just sorta happened like most incidences in life.
No, I'm lying.
This all started with an ex-boyfriend who imagined himself to be the next Iron Chef. Let's just call him X. Now this guy can cook. X would concoct all sorts of meals from scratch, Steak Bourguignon, Malaysian curry.. you name it. A secret battle ensued between us; a battle of denaturing proteins and julienning vegetables. So you have it, in a nut shell. Cooking is still very much a part of my life even though X is just a figment of the past.
Never a conformist, I believe in improvising from scratch and not from a book written by others. Yes, there are a few tattered cookbooks I've managed to collect from the Barnes and Nobles $2 section. But even those have been wedged underneath a wobbly chair.
What makes this meal special to me is the pasta I procured from Joan's on Third. Bucatini, much like spaghetti but thicker and hollow in the center, has more of a bite. The perfect al dente. You're not going to find bucatini in any supermarket, or even at Trader's Joe. Trust me, I've tried.
With bucatini in hand, all I need now are some fresh ingredients. It just so happens that clams are in the fridge spitting out sand with each dying breath. And thanks to mum's garden, we now have crisp basil and parsley. Since I'm not much of a cookbook person, you won't find exact measurements. As Rachael Ray would put it, "just eyeball it."
clams (cherrystone, littleneck..)
parsely, basil (chopped coarsely)
garlic (finely chopped)
roma tomatoes (diced)
tomatoe paste (1 tablespoon, or deathly acidic)
Italian seasoning (bottled)
bucatini (of course!)
The key to cooking perfect al dente pasta is to use a 5:1 ratio of water. The more water the cleaner the pasta. Don't forget to add salt to the boiling water. As the pasta is cooking, heat the oil and saute garlic and shallots for about 3 minutes. Add the clams and wine. Cover and simmer for about 3 minutes or until most clams have opened. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and continue to simmer for another 3 minutes. Finally, add the parsley, basil, and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Add the drained pasta to the sauce pan and toss it around like you see Emeril Lagasse do with such finesse.
The moral of the story is not only to promote bucatini, but also motivate people to cook more. Do you really want to sink your teeth into a steroid injected chicken or spraypainted beef patty?
Didn't think so.