feeling clammy…

I lived on my own at an early age and quickly learned to manage my finances, especially when it came to food.  Not only did it meant living on a budget, I had to make my food last until my next payday. Because of this, I became creative in the kitchen.

Since I love food and love eating even more, starving was never an option. My refrigerator and cupboard were always stocked with inexpensive staples such as eggs, pasta, olive oil, canned tomatoes, and cheese. With these items I was able to cook up great-tasting fares and kept my belly full, as well as my friends who often stopped by.

Now that I am a lot older and don’t have to worry about budgeting for food as much, I still keep the same ingredients readily available. And some other choice items I couldn’t afford before.

One of them is sun-dried tomatoes. They used to be so pricey that I only bought them for special occasion meals. If I don’t have any homemade on hand, I always have at least a backup jar or two.

Linguine with clam sauce was one of the dishes that kept me alive during those lean years. Canned clams were cheap and I usually have a couple tucked in my pantry. Today, I still make it often and have “upgraded” my basic recipe. Now, I call it by its proper Italian designation linguini con vongole.

Back then the dish was simple: clams, olive oil,  lots of garlic, and crushed red pepper that I “stole” from pizza  joints. For my current version, I added sun-dried tomatoes

and fresh clams. I still use canned clams because their juice makes the sauce, well, clammy. A white wine like Pinot Grigio rounds off and adds depth to the sauce.

This is definitely one of the easiest pasta dishes I make and clearly one of my favorites. The fresh clams gives visual interest to the sauce and the hot pepper flakes livens things up a bit. Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and chopped flat leaf parsley are sprinkled on top. And to finish it off, lemon is squeezed to brighten up the entire dish.

I love making this on Sundays, paired with (what else) Pinot Grigio and lots of garlicky crostini. This dish may have had a humble beginning with me and one thing is for sure: it will always be a part of my table.

Linguini con Vongole

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