Category Archives: Clams

Royal Flush Clams Casino

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Clams Casino originated in Rhode Island but there are many variations to this delightful appetizer. Some recipes call for Worcestershire sauce, butter and bacon. I substituted bacon for pancetta because of my infinite love affair with pancetta. They are mouthwatering appetizers and very festive. I suggest making them for a special occasion and serve them with a very chilled bubbly, like a Prosecco.  It sure would set the tone for a smashing dinner party. I wanted to use the Cherrystone clams but could not find them. Please keep in mind, if using Cherrystone clams, you will need to chop them up and place them back on the half shell. I used the little neck clams and the result was like hitting a Royal Flush hand in poker. They are more tender and less chewy but the larger clams make a lovely presentation and popping food photos. The choice is yours. This dish is very popular in the Italian-American community, but can be enjoyed by everyone from all corners of the world.  Put on your apron and follow me in the kitchen.

Serves: 6 – or 8-10 when served with other appetizers – Difficulty level: Intermediate

Ingredients:

  • 40 little neck clams (small) or about 20-25 cherrystone size
  • 2 tbps. extra virgin olive oil, + more for drizzle
  • 4 oz. pancetta, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 3 garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Seasoned breadcrumbs to lightly sprinkle
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese or any parmesan cheese to lightly sprinkle
  • 1/2 lemon, plus more for garnish
  • Flat-leave Italian parsley for garnishPreparation:

    1)  Wash and scrub the clams. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large flat metal pan, bake the clams for about 3 minutes or until they open. Remove them. Drain some of the liquid. Let them cool off. Detach the shells one by one, leaving the clams on half shell.

    2) In the meanwhile, in a large skillet,  over medium-high heat, heat olive oil (be careful, lower heat if it’s too high). Brown the pancetta, for about 1-2 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the bell peppers and shallots, 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic, saute’ for 1 minute.  Deglaze with the wine for 2 minutes. Turn the burner off.

    3) Time to assemble. Sprinkle a little breadcrumbs on each clam. Next, place the pancetta mixture, then sprinkle cheese lightly.

    4) BROIL for about 3-4 minutes. Remove at once.

    5)  Place on a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.

    6) Garnish with parsley and lemon slices.  Bam! Your guests will be dazzled by your culinary creation.

    Hope you’re happy as a clam after reading this delicious blogpost!

    Royal Flush Clams Casino
    Royal Flush Clams Casino

    Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover
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Linguine alle Vongole, Clams in a Wine Broth

Mise en place for Linguine with Clams in a Wine Broth
Mise en place for Linguine with Clams in a Wine Broth
Linguine with Clams in a Wine Broth
Linguine with Clams in a Wine Broth

Clams in a wine broth

It’s been a while since I have made pasta with clams. I have a few versions of them, but I like to change things up from time to time. It was 5:20 PM when I headed to the kitchen, and I challenged myself to have dinner ready on or before 6:00 PM. I felt like I was on a cooking show, but with less pressure of course. I began prepping all the ingredients, and needed everyone out of my way.  I blasted the air, and started cooking like a mad woman. You certainly don’t have to put that kind of pressure on yourselves. To add to the madness, I was shooting pictures, and decided to do a last-minute mini video.  Here is a list of the ingredients you will need, and my method of cooking.

Serves: 4   Level of difficulty Easy-Medium
Time: From start to finish 5:20 PM – 5:59 PM

Ingredients:

  • 2 dozen little neck clams, scrubbed well. *
  • 1/2 head of garlic, chopped
  • 2-3 dried Thai chiles, optional *
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine, Chardonnay
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
  • 4 tbsp. butter, optional, for added richness
  •  Flat-leave parsley for garnish
  •  1 lb. of Linguine
  • Water for boiling pasta, + reserve 1/2 cup for later
  • Salt for the pasta water

    Preparation:
    1) Prep all your ingredients.  Set aside. Bring pasta water to a boil.2) In the meanwhile, in a medium-sized pan (with a lid) heat up olive oil,  add the chiles, sauté for 1-2 minutes, and REMOVE.  Add the shallots, sauté for 2-3 minutes, add the garlic and tomato paste. Stir until it caramelizes.  Deglaze with the wine. Lower the heat, and reduce for 1-2 minutes.

3) Add the clams,  cover with a lid and simmer on low- heat for about 10 minutes or so, or until the clams open up.

4) You will be doing some juggling. By now, the water probably started to boil, add the salt, drop pasta in the water. Cook according to package directions. (I like it al dente, to the bite).

5) Clams should be done. (If you overcook them, they will get chewy. Either keep them on very low flame,  or remove them from the burner.

6) In the midst of cooking, you will find time to prep the garlic bread and broil it. Keep your eyes, on the stove and burners at all times.

7) Drain the pasta, and add it to the clams. ( Make sure you reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water) Use your judgment about how much broth you want.  Stir in the butter, and the reserved pasta water. Mix well. Put back on low flame if necessary to warm it up.

8) Serve at once, in a pasta bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with flat-leave parsley. Voila! Done!  My dinner was served at 5:59 PM. I rose to the challenge.

Linguine alle Vongole

I served it with some homemade crostini, (garlic bread), and my family had a feast. I hope you will try this hearty and delicious dish in your kitchen for your loved ones.

Gina’s Tips:

  1. Make sure clams are all closed when you buy them. Those that stay open are dead, and not suitable for consumption.   Beware of certain allergies with shellfish.
  2. Warning: The chiles are optional, because they are very spicy. However,  if you want to add some kick to the dish, use them as per my instructions.

Wine suggestion: A nice chilled Chardonnay, or any white wine of your choice.

Bon Appetit from My Kitchen to Yours!