A fond food memory of Italy.
What is it about remembering names and other things, like where did I put my phone, give me such a problem sometimes and then on the other hand I can think of a dish I had someplace and remember all the circumstances surrounding it.
For instance, it has been about eight years since we went to Italy but I will not forget one rainy night in Chinque la Terra going to dinner at Ristorante Miky (pronounced Mickey like my Michie). I started saving menus like my sister (she has some beautiful ones) and that rainy night there was one menu outside on a table and it was getting wet so I decided to rescue it from the rain and it now occupies a place along with my other menus. So I went back and took a look at the dish I had that night.
So, that rainy night the six of us were seated outside in a tented area and we had one of the nicest waiters and he talked us through everything on the menu and promised us a meal we would not soon forget. He even told us about his cousin who was a waiter over in Montecino and told us we should check out his restaurant while we were in that area the next week.
This was the first time I had ever had clams and mussels and I was a little hesitate in ordering it. It was delicious and will always be one of my fond food memories. I decided to add some shrimp to the dish the night I made this recipe.
I love looking back at old menus I have picked up during travels and recreating dishes that helped to make a great vacation. I have a journal full of great dinners from travels and love reading about what I thought of the meal.
When we were in Seattle for our anniversary trip back in August we had eaten so much fish in Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle that one night we just wanted some simple Italian food. I ended up ordering a dish similar to this Mussel, clams, linguine dish but it had the addition of tomatoes. So delicious and that brought up all the memories of our trip to Italy and the great food we had while there.
So for a light meal anytime of the year, this is my attempt to bring back those Italian memories of good food and wine. (I made this recently while my daughter and baby were visiting for the weekend. Sorry Thomas, we ate after you went to bed.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: This is a recipe from a trip to Spain that I will never forget — Espresso Almond Meringues, were the huge meringue cookies the size of a soft ball (no kidding) that we picked up on Las Ramblas one night after dinner. They are delicious and a must try. You do not have to make them that big.
Clean the mussels and clams under cool water. Shell and devein shrimp.
Saute the sliced shallots in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes then add the garlic and cook for another few minutes; do not brown the garlic.
After you have add the wine and reduced down by half, add in the broth and the shellfish.
Cook the linguine per package directions. When done, add in the butter and parsley and toss.
Put the cooked pasta in a large bowl and top with the mussels, clams and shrimp,
Shrimp, Mussels, Clams, and Linguine
1 pound linguine pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large or 4 small shallots, sliced
Kosher salt, for seasoning, plus 2 teaspoons
Freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning, plus 1 teaspoon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine (recommended: Pinot Grigio)
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
24 littleneck clams, cleaned
24 mussels, cleaned
1 c. tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the butter and parsley and toss until coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Sauce: In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until aromatic. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, red pepper flakes, clams and mussels. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook until all the shellfish have opened, about 5 to 8 minutes. Discard any unopened shellfish.
Using tongs, remove the shellfish from the pan and reserve. Season the cooking liquid with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pour the shellfish cooking liquid over the pasta, stir in the chopped tomatoes and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the reserved shellfish on top of the pasta and serve.
To serve, put the pasta in bowl, top with some of the shrimp, mussels, and clams and ladle in some broth. Serve with some crusty bread for sopping up all that delicious juice.