Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Christmas Eve Tradition

I've only been married for two years, so my husband and I have not started many of our own holiday traditions yet. At this point we spend the holidays with his family, since they are only a 90 minute drive away. My family is an 8 hour plane ride, so we tend to celebrate by phone calls at this point. Since we're away from my family, I've working on showing Joe our traditions from Christmases when I was younger. He's a good sport about it, especially with the food traditions.

Linguine with Clam Sauce was my family's Christmas Eve meal for as long as I can remember. We'd dress up in our Christmas best for Mass, then have this formal meal at home after church. This is at least the third year Joe and I have shared this Christmas Eve tradition. Two years ago, we got to celebrate Christmas Eve with my family, since they were in town for our December 29 wedding. Last year we did this meal at home just the two of us, and we really enjoyed the quality time and savory food. This year was a little different, because I had to work until 5:00 on Christmas Eve, so we ended up having it as the second Christmas Eve when we got home from his parents house on December 26th.

This pasta always surprises me, because I seem to forget quite how delicious it is. It's RICH and full of butter, so it really is a once a year treat. I find I always want to eat more than I can actually handle, because it's richness makes it much more filling than other pasta dishes. This pasta is a special treat for any celebration, but make sure you're ok with sharing garlic breath with your dining companions!

Linguine with Clam Sauce

1/4 lb. butter (1 stick)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
3 Tbsp basil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 cups minced clams (about 3 cans)
1 cup clam juice*
1 lb. linguine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp minced parsley

Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Add the olive oil, spices, garlic, clams and clam juice. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 30 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, boil water and cook the linguine. Try to time it so the pasta is finished right around the 30 minute mark.

Add salt to the sauce, then toss with the pasta. Toss with Parmesan cheese and minced parsley, and serve immediately.

* You can buy a bottle of clam juice, or you can use the juice that the canned clams are packed in. As long as the clams you buy are in "clam juice", then it's the same as the bottle.

Can you just taste the butter?! I think Ina Garten and Paula Dean would be proud!

I made a salad with dried cranberries, scallions, toasted walnuts, and blue cheese, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It was great! I wanted to share the combination, and also show you the bowl we got in Mexico on our trip in October. Isn't it cool?


Joelen said...

I'm so glad Joe can appreciate linguine w/clam sauce. Louis botched up reheating the dish (by adding what he thought would 'kick it up a notch' when I made it and he is now forever scarred and won't eat again - lol! That bowl you picked up from Mexico looks great!! Glad to hear you had a great holiday :)

Proud Italian Cook said...

Erin, I love linguine and clams, I make mine the same as yours. I would say you have a great tradition going on here for you and your hubby! I love your bowl, I'm always attracted by curly Q's!

Anonymous said...

I LOOOOOOVe linguine with clam sauce! This looks fantastic!!

Sara said...

Your pasta looks great - hope you had a good holiday!

A World in a PAN said...

I love you recipe but most of all I love your idea of introducing your husband to your family traditions - you do know my interest in how cultural traditions are transmitted ... would you like to publish your "food tale" in my website?
Happy New Year!

Sarah said...

I love this tradition! And I honestly can't wait to try this dish out now that I've gotten my husband to try (and love) clams.

Bren said...

congratulations to you and Joe for two years! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!