Pasta del Lunedì: Spaghetti Marechiaro… some more pasta, please!!!

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From the splendid gulf of Naples, where the perfect pasta is made, this perfect spaghetti dish is for seafood lovers!

In a bleak autumn day, you can bring back all the summer breezes and  flavors to your table, sharing the taste of a simple Southern Italy cuisine fare, made in a instant, with ultra fresh ingredients. Nothing else than spaghetti or linguine here! as in Italy, we pair our different sauces with different sizes of pasta.

In late October or November, it is easy to find fresh clams and mussels, or mix it, like I did here, adding to the fresh clams, a frozen package of mussels in garlic and butter, to make it fast and be ready for dinner with a beautiful pasta dish!

Note : An excellent pasta dish seems simple, which it is, if it is done right. Always cook your pasta in plenty of boiling water, so that it  has some room, cook it al dente ( firm to the bite), taste it to be rightly done before draining it,  so that you can finish the cooking with your sauce for a few minutes. Use good quality pasta, it is worth  the investment as  it will hold the re heating so well if you have leftovers. Spaghetti and linguine are good with sleek, clingy sauces, shell- shaped  or ridged pasta  (conchiglie,rigatoni) are better with hearty, chunky sauces

Ingredients : Serve 4 to 6

  • About 12 to 15 small clams, well rinsed
  • 15 fresh mussels, well rinsed or de-bearded or 1 lb. package vacuumed frozen mussels in garlic butter.
  • 1/2  cup  + 2 to 3 tablespoons  olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh canned pureed or crashed tomatoes or a 2 cups of ready made good quality tomato puree like Pomi’
  • 2 garlic gloves, chopped thin
  • 1 glass ( about 2/3 cup) dry white whine
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chopped persil
  • 2+ 3 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper or little more
  • 1 pound good quality spaghetti like De Cecco, Garofalo, Barilla

Directions :

In a large sauce pan, add  half of olive oil, add  2 garlic gloves, saute’ for 2 to 3 minutes, add clams (and mussels if using fresh), ground pepper, 1/2 of persil, the dry wine. Stir and cover. Cook at medium heat, stirring gently once  till shells have open. Reserve in a bowl, straining well the cooking liquid in a different bowl.

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If using frozen mussels, heat shells following package directions, in a medium sauce pan and reserve when done.

In a medium large skillet, add remaining olive oil, last garlic glove, saute at medium heat for a minute or two. Add crushed tomatoes, or tomatoes puree, cook for about five minutes. Then add reserved clams /mussels liquid, reduce heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes.

The mixture should be dense still fluid.

Meanwhile, heat a big pot of salted water (3 teaspoons) to boil. Cook spaghetti, following package directions, 11 to 12 minutes.

Drain well, wipe your big pasta pan, bring the pan to the stove, at low heat, add tomatoes sauce, spaghetti, clams and mussels, (reserve a few for presentation) adjust salt and pepper, a few remaining persil. Mix gently, warm it up for 2 minutes.

Serve in a large serving bowl adding reserved clams and mussels for garnish.

Buon Appetito!!!

Note: I like this simple version yet you could add deveined shrimps and small scallops for a fuller dish.

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