Tuesday, August 24, 2004

zuni cafe's spaghetti with clams

pasta sans breadcrumbs

perusing the latest issue of saveur magazine (my favorite food mag, btw), i was thrilled to find the recipe for their famous gateau victoire. it is one of the few flourless chocolate cakes i've ever really liked. i am a flour lover, in cakes anyway. though i've yet to try the recipe, another recipe on the opposite page caught my eye. spaghetti with clams sounded quick, easy, and yummy.

with help from mr. dexygus (since i'd sprained my ankle a few hours earlier), we got the meal on the table in record time. we used linguine because i don't particularly like spaghetti. the clams were plump and juicy, the breadcrumbs were addictively crunchy and flavorful, probably because there's a ton of olive oil in it (they're not in the picture because we forgot about them until halfway through the meal), and the pasta was infused with the rich, sweet broth. the only aspect i didn't like were the cherry tomatoes. maybe they were a little too sweet. or maybe they should've been cooked down a little more. i'm not sure. all i know is everytime i put them in my mouth, it seemed to conflict with the rest of the dish. still, i'd make this dish again, making minor adjustments.

Spaghetti with Clams (a la Zuni Cafe)
from Saveur Magazine, no. 77 (Aug./Sept.)

(serves 2-4)
- salt
- 1/2 cup tender breadcrumbs made from day-old country-style bread ground in a food processor
- 8 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 tbsp. dry white wine
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup ripe, sweetest, most fragrant cherry tomatoes available, preferably sweet 100s, halved
- 1/2 lb. dried spaghetti
- 2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. marash pepper flakes or 2 pinches dried red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4-1 1/2 lbs. smallest manila clams, scrubbed
- leaves from 3 branches basil (about 1 cup), coarsely chopped
- sprigs from 6 stems flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Mix together breadcrumbs, 2tbsp. olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. wine in a small bowl. Spread on a baking sheet and toast until unevenly brown, 5-7 minutes. Season with pepper and toss while warm.

Place tomatoes in a bowl and season with a few pinches of salt. Set aside. Cook pasta in boiling water until just tender. Meanwhile, put the garlic, pepper flakes, clams, and remaining oil and wine in a large skillet. Cover tightly and cook over high heat until all the clams have opened, 2-5 minutes. Swirl pan occasionally while cooking. Discard any unopened clams. Uncover skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. The broth should be very flavorful. If not, simmer to reduce liquid a bit. Fold in the tomatoes and herbs. Simmer til warmed through.

Drain pasta, add to clams, and toss well. Adjust salt to taste. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and serve.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

try some of those

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Olive said...

Hey there. Nice blog. Can I ask if you know of any sites like this one (chinese cooking) where I can meet other people interested in cookery, particularly chinese cooking?

2:20 AM  

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