When days turn snowy we seem to reach for the foods that have comforted us in winters past. I’ve been making clam linguine from my grandmother’s recipe for the last couple of decades and it’s a favourite of my son and my best friend, two of the most important people in my life. While I want to feed and comfort them, I also feel the need to nourish them and keep them healthy. Over the years, I’ve tweaked frequently cooked dishes to be a bit healthier while still maintaining the textures and flavours that made them staples at our table.
I’m always trying to work more green vegetables into meals and one day when I was picking up supplies for Clam Linguine, I thought about how it’s the only time I like to use lots of parsley in a dish. Realizing that it was because the parsley absorbed all the other flavours, I wondered if kale wouldn’t just do the same thing. By quickly blanching the kale in the pasta water before adding it to the pan and reducing the amount of pasta, it added lots of vitamins and nutrients without taking anything away from a beloved dish.
When I tested the altered pasta dish on my son, he approved and ate about half of a bunch of kale! When I made a lunch date with my best gal where she wanted to make Clam Linguine together at her place, I figured it was a great chance to test out the changes on a “mature” palate. With a splash of Wayne Gretzky wine, I dished up the greener version of the recipe we’d been cooking together since high school and got our daily greens with a side of witty banter.
Recipe for Clam Linguine with Greenery
makes 2 very generous servings
150 ml (5 oz) canned whole baby clams
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
5 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 bunch fresh kale
120ml (4 oz) dry white wine or broth
1 Tablespoon butter
5 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring salted water to a boil. Wash and tear up kale into bite size pieces, discarding the spines.
2. Melt butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium. Add sliced garlic and sauté until golden.
3. Blanch kale in boiling salted water for 1 minute. Add parsley, wine or broth, clam nectar (from the can) to the garlic pan and transfer kale with a slotted spoon from pot to pan
. Simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add pasta to same pot of boiling water. Add clams to sauté pan and salt and pepper to taste then simmer for another 5 minutes.
5. Add pasta to saute pan with sauce and allow to sit with burner off until most of the sauce is absorbed.
6. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Do you have a treasured recipe that you’ve ‘greened’?
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