The Soup Lady just adores the taste of Linguine with White Clam Sauce but there are so many tribulations that go along with it, aren’t there? The first set of problems comes with the making of the sauce – trying to hang on to those sneaky little bivalves to chop them up can be so tiresome. The next challenge is in the eating – the Soup Lady finds it so disadvantageous if one has to pursue the elements of a meal around the plate. All that unraveling and of course, the spectacle of the unchopped clams right there in front of you … well, it’s not for the more delicate among us, is it now?
You will be glad to know that the Soup Lady has solved these messy problems –now you can have the taste experience without the mess and bother! Here is my humble little offering – a dish equally influenced by sunny Italy and rainy Sopranoland. I could just call it Pasta with White Clam Sauce That Has Tuna Fish Mashed Up Into It, but it really deserves a more lyrical name so here it is: The Ears of Charlie Twofish .
The Pasta: I box of orecchiette. One of the problems with the traditional Linguine with White Clam Sauce is that you start twirling up the linguine and you suddenly realize "Wait, this is mostly just linguine because the sauce keeps slipping off. What the heck?" To combat that , the Soup Lady prefers the little cup shaped orecchiette. (This is supposed to translate as little ears and I guess they do look like that if the ears you have in mind belong to Topo Gigio.) You could easily use small shells, but this bowl-shaped pasta really can carry a big load of solid bits from the sauce and that’s really what you want, isn’t it?
The fish: I can of Progresso White Clam Sauce, 1 can Italian-style tuna fish packed in olive oil. Now you can go around waiting for the clam boat to come in and start picking out just the ones you want, and then go with the scrubbing, the steaming and the chopping , or you could put your faith in a can of Progresso White Clam Sauce. Don’t be a snob – this is good, its safe and its dependable. The real taste sensation comes when you open a can of tuna packed in olive oil, mash it up with a fork and add the clam sauce to it. The tuna adds texture and flavor and is overall much richer than clams sauce alone. Don’t let your experience with the anemic Solid White Tuna in Spring water influence you against trying this – I’m telling you it’s a different thing altogether. Don’t be afraid.
The Sauce: onions, garlic, butter, salt , pepper, dried oregano, fresh parsley , red pepper flakes. Chop a small white onion into a fine dice and gently sauté it in 2 tablespoons of butter. Along with 1 clove of minced garlic. Add a tablespoon of dried oregano, ¼ cup of chopped fresh parsley and a dash of salt and stir over low heat until heated through. Add the fish mixture to this and then some fresh black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Taste to adjust seasonings – you may need more salt at this point. Add the cooked pasta and mix.
The Garnish: top with more chopped parsley. You can mix in some fresh chopped tomatoes if you like, but I’d try it my way first. Add the tomatoes the second time around.
The Compliments and the Credit: At this point, you must be prepared to receive all manner of complements. Your guests will be amazed at the familiar and yet enhanced flavors in this dish and they will thank you because they are not compelled to make awkward maneuvers to keep slippery linguine on their forks. You must tell them that this culinary marvel was created by the Soup Lady, or possibly her Italian-American neighbors and the Soup lady just copied it.
But I did invent the name
Serve an uncomplicated salad of bitter greens with this, say something with a lot of chicory and arugula. End the meal with some fresh fruit. Please don't mess this up by trying to add grated cheese - you don't need it and it will nullify the kick of the red pepper flakes.