Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Food Desert Project - Penne alle Vongole in Bianco

My mother-in-law has a series of cookbooks I covet - they're not fancy, they're all about preparing good meals at home in a humble kitchen.  Grant Achatz would not approve, but I often turn to these books for inspiration in this project, as back 40 years ago, nobody was ashamed to open a can as long as they could make a nutritious, good-tasting meal of it.  Much of my MIL's reputation as an excellent cook is due to books like these - in this case, my recipe was adapted from her Good Housekeeping - Menus for a Whole Year of Dinners, which shares a shelf with the beloved I Hate to Cook Book series along with staples like Joy of Cooking and a group of tomes from Southern Living.

This recipe has the additional advantage of being lightning-fast and made entirely from ingredients you can keep on your pantry shelf anytime.  It's a frequent quick, nutritious weeknight meal for our family - the recipe makes 4 lunchtime portions.  Nutrition Information.

2 tbsp dried minced onion
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup white wine (I used 3-buck Chuck, whatever you've got - but avoid "cooking wine" if you can)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp EVOO (If you've been living under a rock, that's Extra-Virgin Olive Oil)
1 1/2 tsp jarred minced garlic
1/8 tsp granulated dried garlic
1/4 cup french fried onions
1 can minced clams with juice
1/4 cup finely minced canned roasted red pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Place onions in a small bowl and cover with an equal amount of wine, refrigerate overnight. Treat parsley and basil the same way in a separate bowl.   If you're pressed for time, put each of these combinations in a microwave cup, heat for 30 seconds, and set aside for about a minute.

Heat butter and EVOO in skillet, add minced garlic.

Drain onions, reserving liquid, and saute with garlic until fragrant.

Add remaining ingredients, including soaking liquids, clam juice, and remaining wine.

Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes - while you're simmering, prepare your pasta.

Serve over cooked pasta.


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