7.29.2006

Not Clamming Up


When I saw the can of "white clam sauce" in the Italian food section of the grocery aisle, I thought "Huh! I don't think I've ever had that before." So I bought it and a can of artichoke hearts and a bottle of capers, thinking they'd make a good addition to the base sauce. I also got a box of linguini and, as a last minute thought, I bought a can of smoked baby clams.
So, tonight I decided to brave the unknown and invent a pasta dish -- not for the first time, but the first time in a long while. I started the linguini cooking and opened the can of white clam sauce and dumped it in a medium-sized saucepan. I tasted this new item and was severely underwhelmed. It was salty and tasted mostly of chicken stock, which I assume is the base for the sauce. Hmm... this was going to be tougher than I thought!
I rolled up my figurative sleeves and pressed on. I chopped up the artichoke hearts and dumped them in. I added a few capers and then tested the mixture. Hmm. Better. I also added the can of the smoked clams. It added a nice amount of protein that hadn't been covered by the teeny chopped up clams in the original sauce. Definitely better.
I remembered some leftover pesto and dumped it all in boldly. After all, the flavor certainly couldn't be worse. It was a surprisingly good addition and almost completely masked the chicken flavor. Yay!
Just as I thought I was done, I glanced at the linguini box and saw a good looking recipie for a clam sauce made from scratch. (That may be my next project.) One of the ingredients listed is white wine. Now there's a good idea! Wine makes everything better, trust me. I added a jag or two.
When the linguini finished cooking, I drained it and then put it back in the pot to have the sauce mixed into it. This is not my usual way of putting together pasta and sauce (I generally go the individual serving route) but this seemed like the right way to approach this. I served myself a small helping and [cue fanfare] tasted it. Hmm. Surprisingly palatable. It needed one thing more -- a generous dusting of parmesan gratings. OK, now we're talking! I ate the whole serving, and just as I was finishing it, thought of another addition that would make it not only better tasting, but more attractive.
For those who cheated and looked at the picture at the beginning, you'll know I'm talking about tomatoes. I chopped up a bit and added it to another serving, just to check before adding the rest of the chopped tomato to the pot of pasta and sauce.
I don't think I'll make this particular sauce again, but I might make a from-scratch version. It might turn out better if it's not working from a taste deficit.

And now I have to go to bed, since I'm due at my sister and BIL's house for brekkie early tomorrow morning.
One last fun thing: Subversive Cross-stitch
As a sometime cross-stitcher and friend of free-speaking ladies (sometimes one myself), I found this to be so funny and so appropriate for counteracting that illusion that only old ladies cross-stitch. Thanks to Diablo for posting this.

5 comments:

Stacey said...

I love they way you are so willing to try new things. I'd like to think I'm that open minded, but probably not about food; other things, yes. Food, no.
And the cross-stitch - FABULOUS!

Aileen said...

I'd be happy to be a ginnea pig anytime for one of your concoctions! Sounds delicious!

belsum said...

Aw, I didn't know you were a regular Ranch reader! I'll be sure to tell Diablo you liked the link next time I see her.

Anne said...

I love Diablo's blog. She's just so bold and yet vunerable and human at the same time.
I actually bought that WW outfit for myself and one for a friend's birthday present.

Anne said...

Ooops, Just realized today that I got my super-cool female blogger references mixed up. The subversive cross-stich link came from Diablo, the WW outfit (seen here: http://www.bust.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=TBB&Product_Code=WU-WWCAMISET&Category_Code=02c) from Anne G. at http://www.purselipsquarejaw.org/.
Again, Ooopsie.