Out of the Pantry, Into the Fire

A lil more comfort food

It was one of those cooking-out-of-the-pantry weeks, after having to clean up a flooded bathroom before starting and going later into work.   What’s interesting is that I was previously on the phone with my friend Wendy that day, who was telling me how she makes her linguine and clams on the peppery side.  In a way this recipe is a little homage to her.

So for those situations that are beyond your control and sap a lot of your emotional energy, I give you my recipe for peppery & zesty linguine and clams with napa cabbage and bacon.

Note: This is “situational” cooking, and how it turns out depends on what happens as I am cooking, and the measurements are not necessarily hard and fast like baking.   I just remember not to burn the garlic or overcook the pasta and clams.

1 lb. linguine noodles
2 cloves garlic, sliced
a pinch or two of hot pepper flakes (pepperoncini)
1 can chopped clams & its juice
1/4 to 1/3 c. half & half
1/2 c. white wine
1 Tbsp. cream cheese schmear (optional)
1 Roma tomato, quartered & halfed
1/2 to 1 c. napa cabbage sliced
2 slices fried bacon, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
fish stock (optional)

Cook the linguine noodles in boiling salted water.  In a saute pan, fry gently in a low heat garlic with the hot pepper flakes.  Increase heat a tad close to medium and add tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper, and once the tomatoes start to soften, a pass or two of the white wine.  Burn the alcohol off a few seconds and pour in the can of clam juices only, reserving the clams.  Add the half & half and simmer, then the cream cheese, stirring to dissolve it in the pan.  Keep sauce at a simmer, but if it starts to tighten, spoon in some fish stock or the pasta water.  Drop in the napa cabbage and clams.  By this time, the linguine noodles should be at al dente, so with kitchen thongs add straight from the boiling pot to the sauce.  Liberally crack some black pepper over the top, toss and simmer until noodles are a little less al dente and the cabbage is soft.  Crumble in the bacon, toss and serve twirls of pasta onto a plate.