Saturday, September 15, 2012

From the Grill: Pasta with clams

 While there's still some summer weather left for a short while, and grape tomatoes are still ripening on the vine, here's a chance to put the grill to a little more use. Everything is cooked outdoors -- even the water for the pasta is boiled on a separate burner beside the main grill. I place aluminum foil pans directly on the grill. At left, I've got clams cooking. In the one on the right, I'm sautéeing the shallots and  tomatoes.

 Keep an eye on the clams and cook them only until the just begin to open up. Remove them as they do, and leave the others to cook a few minutes longer.

Reserve and strain all the clam liquid in the pan, and remove the clams from the shells (but hold a dozen or so in the shell to garnish on top. Set the clams aside - you'll put them back in the sauce later.

After the shallots and tomatoes are cooked, add the strained clam juice, wine, seasonings and the clams. Meanwhile, I cooked the pasta on a burner that's off to the side, (under the brown potholder), then moved the pot to the main grill and added the pasta to the pan with the clams and other goodies. Of course, you could boil the pasta water on an indoor range, but this dish was prepared on a very hot day when I wanted to keep all the heat out of my air-conditioned house.

Toss everything together and serve.

How would you like a colorful, delicious drink before dinner?

 Here are a couple for you -- one from me and one from Adri of The Front Burner. We've both entered the Metropolitan Opera's "Elixir of Love" contest and could win two tickets to the Met's new production of "L'Elisir D'Amore." Adri lives in California and I live in New Jersey, but we've made a pact that if one of us wins, we're going to the opera together. Don't you want to support the arts? (and me and Adri?) We'd love it if you voted for us. Voting starts today and continues until 11:59 p.m. Sept. 23 (Eastern time). 

My entry is called "Adina's Downfall" and you can vote for me by going here.

Adri's drink is called "La Figlia Del Reggimento" and you can vote for her by going here.

Entry Photo

 Pasta with clams and grape tomatoes

printable recipe here

This recipe was done entirely on the grill, but you can use an indoor range instead.

2 8-ounce packages of fresh tagliolini or fettucini (or 1 lb. dried pasta)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 medium size shallots, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

grape or cherry tomatoes (enough to fill about 2 cups)

about 4 - 6 dozen cherrystone or littleneck clams

clam liquid (from cooking the clams - should be about 1/2 cup)

grated rind of one lemon

freshly ground black pepper

a handful of fresh parsley, minced

extra virgin olive oil to finish

red pepper flakes, if desired

Sauté the shallots in the olive oil over low heat. After they are slightly softened, add the tomatoes and cook until they almost burst open. Add the garlic and cook until softened.

Place the clams in a separate container in another part of the grill over high heat. Close the lid to the grill and let the clams cook, just until they open. It may take as little as two or three minutes for them to open up, depending on how hot your grill gets. When the clams start to open, remove each clam from its shell and place in a bowl, reserving about a dozen still intact to garnish on top. There should be a fair amount of liquid in the pan after they all open. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the clam liquid through a coffee filter.

Meanwhile, get the water boiling for the pasta. If you're using fresh pasta, it will take only a few minutes, just enough time to finish up the sauce.

In the pan with the shallots, tomatoes and garlic, add the strained clam juice and white wine. Cook for a few minutes, then add the clams and heat through a minute or two in the sauce. Drain the pasta (reserving a little of the pasta water to use in the sauce if necessary). Place the pasta in the pan with the sauce and add the lemon rind, freshly ground pepper and the parsley. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve in a large bowl with the clams in the shell as garnish on top.

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  1. Hello Linda...i am an Italian foodblogger and i found your amazing blog through Marcellina in cucina. I am Calabrian but i live in the north of you know my daughter's name is Linda?Come&visit me soon, it would be really nice.
    Ps. I joined your site!
    Sincerely, Ale.

  2. I've never had clams, but I'd love to tast that wonderful pasta dish!



  3. Thanks so much for the shout out about my cocktail, La Figlia del Reggimento. And your Adina's Downfall sounds luscious. Can't you just see Adina having a tipple as she reads to the townsfolk of Tristan and his secret love potion?

    And I hear you about keeping the house cool in the end of summer heat. It was 108 degrees here yesterday. Your Pasta with Clams is gorgeous, and I bet it is delicious. I love that the entire dish was made start to finish outside on the grill. BRava!

  4. un piatto spettacolare Linda, adoro i primi con pesce e frutti di mare! Buon weekend!

  5. I am going to miss fresh salty Atlantic Ocean clams when I move to Colortado, Linda! This looks so delicious.

    I do hope your win the Met's contest with this fabulous drink! I'll definitely vote for you and Adri!

  6. Fanastica la pasta con le vongole preparata a questo modo, è assolutamente da provare l'idea di aprire le vongole nel forno. Un abbraccio, buona domenica Daniela.

  7. Love clams on the grill... just in time. And voted. Of course. Beautiful!

  8. Would you believe that I've never made fresh clams before? I love that you use the grill for this dish. The next time I see fresh clams, I'm going to remember this dish. This look amazing. Good luck on the contest!

  9. Fresh clams are available at my farmers' market right now and preparing them on the grill is a great idea. This is one of my favorite pasta dishes and clams are on next week's shopping list.
    Good luck in the drink competition, Linda. I hope you or Adri win.

  10. We are trying to hold on to summer as long as possible with shortening days and a nip in the early morning air.Clams and pasta are a natural together.

  11. I want the drinks and that glorious pasta dish! I'll vote right now!Good luckto you both!

  12. This is my kind of dinner. And I would be happy to vote for you ladies. Good luck!

  13. Wow, this sounds fantastic! I love that the whole dish is prepared outdoors on the grill and side burner. When our power went out during a storm one year, I was forced to cook dinners outdoors :)

    Good luck with the competition. How cool that would be!

  14. Ooh that looks so good.
    Love your vibrant blue platter too!

  15. Ciao Linda, I must have lost your blog somewhere...anyway in the meantime with my great joy you posted many new tasty recipes...The 'vongole one' is my favourite, but figs and rucola on top of pizza...uhao I love it. I will not lose your blog again...mi piace un sacco!!

  16. That looks delicious. I don't know if it's just me, but I think food eaten outside is so much better than when it's eaten inside. I mean, of course, when it's a nice temperature out.

  17. Very nice riff on the classic dish! I'm sure the grilling really brings out that briny clam flavor.

  18. The clams in pasta sound so unique and delicious! And I'll make sure and go over and vote for you Linda! Have a great weekend!

  19. I am absolutely drooling to see your picture. Clam is my favorite :)

  20. Linda, this is so beautiful and summery! And it's not to late to enjoy it - I have a beautiful bowl of grape tomatoes, the last from the garden, just waiting to be used in something like this. Thanks for the great idea!