Friday, August 14, 2009

sunday supper for three

Dan's father Larry is in New York for work this week so he joined us for dinner on Sunday. Usually Dan and I spend Sunday nights in our pajamas, eating dinner and watching a marathon of TV shows starting with 60 Minutes and ending with True Blood. So having company was a nice change of pace. We both wore normal clothes and actually ate at the dinner table. Classy!

We also had another guest, whom we are dog-sitting. (I must show his photo because I am like the proud mother of a newborn. Except he is not mine.)

I wanted to make a fresh and summery meal that didn't require the oven, which turns our apartment into a furnace. Although I still caught Larry mopping his brow. Embarrassing. When trying to figure out a menu, my mind kept wandering toward seafood recipes for some reason. I thought about making grilled shrimp skewers, or poached salmon with pesto, or a big bowl of steamed mussels with crusty bread. And then I thought about linguine with clams, an everyday sort of meal that Dan and I eat a lot, but somehow it sounded more appealing than any of my other ideas.

To give the pasta an extra something special, I made breadcrumbs with parmesan and chopped parsley—the perfect crunchy foil for the garlicky clam- and bacon-studded broth and slippery noodles. We easily polished off almost two pounds of clams that night. Paired with a salad full of crunchy summer vegetables and feta, it was a great Sunday dinner. And we still managed to get quite a bit of TV viewing in. Nothing keeps my father-in-law from watching True Blood. The man must get his weekly Sookie fix.

One sour note: the panna cotta I made for dessert didn't turn out the way I had hoped. The custard tasted more watery than creamy, even though it was infused with vanilla and made with heavy cream. And the gelatin formed a thick layer at the bottom of each serving, making a mess when I unmolded each one. On top of that, the white peach puree I made was more like applesauce than a silky dessert topping. Gag. So I ditched the peaches and quickly melted some chocolate and swirled it on top of the panna cottas, a last-minute attempt to make them more edible. It didn't really help. But no matter—we were too distracted by killer vampires, lusty Bible-thumpers, and heart-eating zombies (eek!) to care.

Sunday night dinner with Larry
Fried chickpeas
Linguine with clams, pancetta, and parsley
Arugula with radishes, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, and feta
Panna cotta

Linguine with clams, pancetta, and parsley
We eat this recipe, from Jamie Oliver, year-round, but I like it best in the summer. Maybe it reminds me of the beach?

1 lb. dried linguine pasta
olive oil
4 strips pancetta, sliced, thinly (or bacon)
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 dried red chili, crumbled (or 1/2 tsp. chile flakes)
1 1/2 lb. clams, cleaned to remove any sand
1 glass white wine
1 handful chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Cook your linguine in salted boiling water until al dente. Meanwhile, get a pan hot and add a couple of good lugs (tablespoons) of olive oil and the pancetta. Fry until golden, then add the garlic and chilies. Soften them slightly and add the clams. Stir, then add the white wine. Put a lid on the pan and cook for a further couple of minutes until all the clams have opened–discard any that remain closed. Remove from the heat and add the drained linguine. Stir in the parsley, correct the seasoning and serve with all the cooking juices. Top each serving with breadcrumbs.

Parmesan breadcrumbs
(Makes about 1 cup)
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small pan. Over low heat, toast the breadcrumbs until slightly golden, about 2 minutes. Be sure to stir the mixture to prevent it from sticking and burning. Remove from the heat and let cool.


Daniel said...

60 Minutes and True Blood...From the nearly dead to the undead.

(Sorry, Morley. That was uncalled for.)

Casey said...

Thank god you didn't make some sort of pot pie before you watched True Blood - yikes! Tasty clams were a much smarter choice.

Lisa said...

Daniel: Ha! Very clever, darling.

Casey: Ooh, god, yes. How awful would that have been??

Judy said...

No picture of Larry? I think he's cuter than KC.

Yes, It is a good thing you didn't serve anything unrecognizable Sunday night.

Breadcrumbs on pasta and clams. What a good idea.


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