Friday, May 9, 2014

Spaghetti with Clams and Mussels

Planning a romantic dinner at home for your special someone? Tonight I am going to show you how to prepare Spaghetti with Clams and Mussels, a simple and classic Italian dish, that will undoubtedly woo your guy or girl. There is nothing as seductive as showing off your cooking skills in the kitchen, and then savor a delicious meal together, next to a great glass of wine.

Before we can get started, let's turn on some music to make the cooking more fun, and to set the mood.
I'm listening to The Civil Wars. I absolutely love all of their songs. Joy and John Paul are brilliant together, so sweet and passionate. "Dance me to the End of Love" is now playing. Amazing song! You can't see me, but I'm definitely dancing around the kitchen now!

When dinner is almost ready, light a candle, open a nice bottle of wine, and why not, set up a cozy blanket on the floor in front of the fireplace. And don't forget to change into something sexy. 
Your romantic dinner will surely be a success!

And how so appropriate is the next song:  "Drink up one more time, and I'll make you mine Keep you apart, deep in my heart Separate from the rest,  where I like you the best..." Between the Bars, The Civil Wars (remake of Elliot Smith's song)

Ingredients: for 2 people
  • 1 lb of manila clams
  • 1/2 lb of mussels
  • 1 bunch (about 1 oz) of fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 hot peppers... or more if you like it spicy
  • 1 tablespoon of plain bread crumbs
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • 6 oz of thick spaghetti (I like Barilla)
Preparation time: about 20 minutes, plus the time to clean the seafood if necessary.


Step 1: Clean the clams and mussels under running water (keeping the two separate), scraping the shells if necessary, and removing the beard from the mussels if still there . If you have the time, let them sit in a bowl (two bowls, one for for the clams and one for the mussels) filled with cold salty water for 20 minutes or more. This will eliminate any sand that might be left inside the shells.   The clams and mussels that I bought at the fish market were perfectly clean, and I found almost no sand at the bottom of my bowls. Rinse again under running water.

Step 2: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (where you'll cook the spaghetti).
Place the clams in a large enough pot, covered, over high heat for about 5 minutes. All the clams should open. Discard any that did not open. Remove most of the clams from shells, saving some with the shell for decoration.
Step 3: Filtrate the water left by the clams with a sifter and add the liquid to the clams... I know my is the tiniest sifter you've ever seen :) I could not find the regular size one. Anyways, this did the job!
Leave the sandy bottom in the pot and throw away.
Step 4: Do the same for the mussels. Place them in a large pot, covered, over high heath for about 5 minutes. Throw away any mussel that did not. Remove most mussels from shells, saving some. I generally throw away the liquid from the mussels. What I had from the clams was plenty.
Step 5: Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water. Crush two of the garlic cloves, by pressing down with the flat blade of a large knife. Mince one of the garlic clove. In a large skillet, saute' garlic clove, most of the parsley  (save some of the parsley to sprinkle at the end) and hot peppers with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
Step 6: Add the clams and mussels with their water. Add the white wine and bread crumbs. Let evaporate and cook for another five minutes or so.
Step 7: Drain the spaghetti al dente and toss in the skillet with clams and mussels for about a minute, mixing well. Serve immediately sprinkling with some more parsley if you like.

Buon Appetito! Enjoy your dinner date for two!


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