Saturday, December 1, 2007

Everyday Pasta

Giada De Laurentis isn’t just another pretty face. She makes pretty pasta, too!
I received her cookbook, “Everyday Pasta” as a gift several months ago and have enjoyed trying her recipes. My husband and I had fun making the fried ravioli for a recent dinner party and the fried zucchini makes regular appearances at our dinner table. She also shares a fun twist on a traditional Tuscan bread salad: Cornbread Panzanella.

Last night I tried my hand at Giada’s Spaghetti with Pinot Grigio and Seafood. Click here for a link to the recipe, found on the Food Network.

Variations I made from the recipe:
I used marinated clams…you know, you go to Whole Foods for the good stuff (often the expensive stuff!) and it’s pretty surprising when they don’t have it…they were, however, the only grocery store in the (walkable) area that had arugula, so kudos for that…I think the marinated clams affected the taste a little. They were marinated in oil and lemon juice, and I think the lemon added a bitter taste to the dish, which was bitter enough because of the arugula.
I also left my sun-dried tomatoes unchopped, because I think they’re more attractive whole, plus I like the idea of plopping them on top of a crusty baguette (which I did!)
I used linguini (semolina) instead of regular spaghetti. I thought this was a good choice…my theory was that the thicker noodles would pick up the sauce nicely (I was right!)
Except for the added bitterness (that I suspect was from the clams) this was an enjoyable, flavorful dish. I enjoy food that let the natural seafood flavors come through strong and stand mostly on their own, and this dish did that. The sauce was light and the taste of the shellfish really clung to the noodles. The arugula and tomatoes added a nice, acidic bite, and the sautéed shallots were the perfect addition and melted right into the big, crusty bread I served on the side. And who doesn’t love a recipe that uses a cup and a half of wine? You know what that means…you have to drink the rest of the bottle!

I’ll make this recipe again, but will go out of my way if need be (I will even drive my car and risk giving up my beloved city-street parking spot) to find fresh clams.

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