Yesterday, I actually did eat SOME dairy. I had some fresh mozzarella that needed to be used up so I had it for a snack, drizzled with some balsamic vinegar and evoo. DC was kind enough to have bought me a container of the little water-packed boconccini last week when I was craving fresh mozzarella-- and I am here to tell you I ate the whole thing all by myself! (Not all at once, of course.)
So today is really my first day that I am trying to go completely dairy free. For breakfast, I had a bowl of Vive whole-grain Probiotic cereal and blueberries with almond milk, and an egg. Generally I have Silk soymilk on my cereal, but my acupuncture doc recommended I switch to Almond Breeze instead. The Almond Breeze is not bad. I wouldn't drink it straight, but then I wouldn't drink Silk straight either, except for the chai flavor. I love the Chai flavor. The egg is something else the dr. suggested, to be sure to have some protein if I'm having cereal.
Trying to think of a quick and easy meal while I was at WF picking up some odds and ends, my eye fell on a can of clams and I realized it has been YEARS since I made pasta with red clam sauce, and I do love it. As does DS. I'm not sure DC has ever had it, but he recently tried some Tuscan-style mussels and greatly enjoyed them. Since traditionally, pasta with seafood is not eaten with cheese, this seemed like a great time to re-invent my red clam sauce recipe.
Here is my quick and simple recipe. Although linguine is typically used, I had some spaghetti so that's what I used. If you are in a roaring hurry and have NO TIME, you can skip everything, and just add some bottled pasta sauce to some sauteed onions and toss in your clams and your parsley, if you have some. Not as tasty as the version below, but it still beats take-out!
Pasta with Red Clam Sauce
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked al dente and kept warm
2-3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 t. red pepper flakes (more to taste)
1 lg. onion, diced
6-7 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. Italian herb mix
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (I used one that had garlic, oregano, and basil added)
1 c. white wine
2 10 oz. cans clams, drained, with the juice of 1 can reserved
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1. Heat the evoo in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the red pepper flakes.
2. Meanwhile, force the large can of tomatoes through a food mill, and discard the solids. Reserve the strained tomatoes.
3. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and saute until tender and fragrant, 5-6 minutes.
Don't you just love the way it smells when the onion and garlic hits the hot olive oil?
4. Add the herb mix, and stir to combine. Add 1/2 t. salt and some fresh ground black pepper.
5. Add the strained tomatoes, the small can of tomatoes, the white wine and the reserved clam juice to the onion mixture.
6. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, reduce to heat to medium-high and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. This just depends on how thick you like the sauce. I like mine just a little thinner than regular spaghetti sauce. If you get it too thick, you can dilute it with a little of the pasta cooking water. (I always save some in case I need it, which is easy since my pasta pot has an insert that you can just lift out of the water to drain the pasta and leave the pot of water on the stove.)
7. Once the sauce is thickened to your liking, add the clams and stir well to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. My sauce wasn't as spicy as I would like, so I added some more red pepper flakes at this point.
8. Add the parsley to the sauce.
9. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the drained pasta to the skillet, and toss to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, to thoroughly coat the pasta with the sauce.
Serve with warm, crusty bread and a green salad.
I forgot to take a picture of this plated-- I guess we were so hungry I didn't think about it! Everyone really enjoyed the pasta, and we had plenty of leftovers, enough for another meal for DC and me.
DS is headed off to chaperone the Raleigh Boy Choir's annual week-long choir camp up in Asheville. I'm gonna miss him! But I am so proud of him-- he got himself completely ready for camp, even using a checklist! When he was a chorister, he attended camp as a camper for at least 5 years, and I always dreaded getting him ready to go. I thought we were done with choir camp once he graduated from the choir, but he's been invited to chaperone this year and last, which he really enjoys. He's very good with the younger boys, and everyone always has a great time at camp. I guess this will be DS's 7th trip to see the Biltmore House, LOL-- that is always the big treat for the week. I grew up in Asheville and he's seen it more times than I have! Amazingly, the facility where the camp is held is directly adjacent to the elementary school I attended for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. Back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth....