Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bella Notte

With all this talk of Italy in our house, plus my love of European-style grazing I decided tonight to make a Mega-Dinner. It didn't take much convincing to get Neighbor Jill in on the action, and by 5pm, we had popped open a bottle of Pinot and were scrubbing clams.

I know Sanne will probably come back with a lot of ideas (I hope) for recipes, so I might be infringing a bit by going Italian tonight. But I just can't help myself. Plus, Jill is headed that way next weekend, so we thought this would be a great way to send her off.
aren't they beautiful?
We started with a classic bruschetta of tomato, basil, mozzarella, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Perfection.

...and snacked on some stuffed peppers, marinated olives, prosciutto and shaved parmesan.  

I needed a white wine for this recipe, and so Jill picked up this one. I have been more into red recently and haven't enjoyed a white in a while. But this was gooooood. 

I got this magazine a few months ago. Its the new and improved Bon Appetit, and this so happens to be the Italy Issue. I've been referring back to it ever since I bought it. It has a lot of great tips on making the perfect pasta. Tonight I decided to try their recipe for Spaghetti Alle Vongole or: Spaghetti with Clams. Summer makes me want to eat lots of shellfish, know what I mean?

I think I've said it before, but I'll go ahead and say it again. What I love about Italian food is the simplicity. Nothing overpowers anything else. Also, it uses very few ingredients, so cooking italian won't break the bank. ;)

For this one, all you'll need is:
6oz spaghetti
4T evoo
1 garlic clove
1/4t crushed red pepper
1/4c white wine
2lb clams
2T roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley (I just realized that I totally forgot to add this. My bad.)

Start by thinly slicing 1 clove garlic, and cooking it until golden in 3T olive oil. Add 1/4t crushed red pepper, swirling it around until cooked.

Cook pasta until its just about al dente (but not quite), about 2 minutes. You'll finish cooking it in a few. Drain pasta, reserving about 1/4c or more of the water. Don't forget like I did...

Meanwhile, add 1/4c white wine, return to a simmer and add clams. Cover and cook until clams open. Then, with tongs, transfer them to a separate bowl.

Like so.

Add 1/4c pasta water, return to boil and add pasta. Toss pasta thoroughly in sauce. If it seems to be too dry, add a little more pasta water. This is also when you should add the parsley. Then put the clams back in.

Serve with finely grated parmesan cheese. The finer it is, the easier it melts into the sauce. :)

See! Wasn't that easy? But wait-- there's more!

This one is called the Grown-up Sundae. Vanilla Bean ice cream, a little chocolate syrup and a shot of espresso. 


So simple, but sooo satisfying. If you manage to let it melt before you scarf it all down, it becomes a delicious iced latte.

I want to remind you that you can contact us via email at: Send us recipes, links, pictures... it might be more convenient than leaving it in the comments section. But please, keep leaving us feedback there :) And, if you're looking for anything in particular, our recipe index is still in the side bar ~>

A few of you have mentioned to me that you've tried a recipe or two of ours... how about the rest of you? What would you like to see more of this summer? Grilling? Something interesting with a lobster? More Italian? (please say more Italian) 

Have a good Monday!



  1. Yum! It always looks even better on that pretty tablecloth. Your grandmother would be so proud! Love the bruschetta too. Tell Jill hi!

  2. Those are some good lookin apps and zerts! im not a big fan of clams…but I do love oysters!