Gosh, I love these long summer days and warm summer nights. And while short winter days, with minimal sunlight aka less time to snap all my food photos, are about as enticing as stale bread or sour milk, goodness they do make these long days seem mighty nice. I’ve been starting my days early, drinking my coffee outside, sifting through our belongings before packing them away in boxes, and trying to soak up as much of our Silver Lake place as I can. I’ve been taking Vienna on extra long walks around the neighborhood and feeling mighty grateful for the two years we’ve spent in our place. Hard to believe that next week we’ll be waking up in a new hood!
Since we have been schedule as many friend/neighbor dinners in as possible before the move, I’ve been turning to the quick and easy, but oh so trusty classics. I’m talking about the dishes you can throw together without thinking. My dad would tell you that one of my mom’s go-tos is spaghetti with clams and now it’s becoming one of mine. I mean, it’s so easy to pull together and in my opinion, it’s one of the tastiest pasta dishes. Hard to go wrong with a plateful (or bowl) of pasta and clams loaded with garlic, crushed red pepper, and boatloads of parsley. Such a classic.
That being said, even a classic can use a facelift every now and then. But makeovers don’t necessarily mean drastic changes. My dad likes to play this game called “stump the chump,” where he intentionally disguises the appearance, texture, or colors of his ingredients to add flair and flavor to his cooking. And when I took one of my mom’s go-tos and added Pernod Classic to it—I stumped the chump (the chump being Moses, though let’s be clear here, I’m not calling him a chump!!). Instead of using white wine, I used Pernod, and it infused the clams and sauce with notes of anise, fennel, coriander, and even mint! For the record, it’s pretty fantastic winning “stump the chump.” I highly recommend you play it with your friends/fam, perhaps starting with this seemingly ordinary dish!
Homemade Spaghetti with Clams
Serves 2 to 4
- 2 c. “00” flour
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- Glug of extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Semolina, for dusting
SPAGHETTI WITH CLAMS
- 8 oz. homemade spaghetti (or dried if you prefer)
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1/3 c. Pernod Classic
- 2 lbs. littleneck or manila clams, scrubbed
- 1/2 c. pasta water
- 1/4 c. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- Finishing salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- Pasta machine or pasta attachments
- Large pot
- Large, deep skillet with lid
- Wooden spoon
FOR THE PASTA
- Mound 2 cups of “00” flour and 2 cups of all-purpose flour on a clean working surface and create a well in the middle, large enough for 4 eggs. Carefully crack eggs into well and beat together with a fork, slowly and gently incorporating the inner walls of the well into the egg mixture. Using your non-dominate hand, keep pushing the well walls up, to keep the well intact while you continue to incorporate the eggs. When about half the flour is combined, the dough should come together and look like a shaggy mess. Once this happens, start kneading the dough with your hands, using your palms to do the work of kneading. When the dough forms a ball, clean off work surface (removing any excess flour that you did not use). Dust with a bit of flour and knead for 8 to 10 minutes or until the dough is elastic and smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour to allow dough to rest.
- Divide the dough into 4 sections and wrap 3 of 4 in plastic wrap. Roll out dough using a pasta machine or pasta attachments according to machine/attachment instructions and then cut into spaghetti noodles. Dust with semolina and repeat with remaining dough.
FOR SPAGHETTI WITH CLAMS
- Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot of salted water. Cook pasta until just al dente. For fresh pasta, this will only take 2 to 3 minutes at most. Drain pasta, reserving ½ a cup of cooking water.
- In a large, deep skillet, heat ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant and lightly browned. Carefully add the Pernod Classic and clams, covering with a lid and increasing heat to high. Cook for 4 to 7 minutes or until the clams have opened. Remove clams with tongs as they open and place in a bowl. Discard any clams that have not opened after 8 minutes.
- Add 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water to the pan and bring to a boil. Add the cooked pasta and toss with tongs to cover in sauce. Add the clams back in and toss. Add more pasta water if pasta looks dry and cook until sauce is thickened and has been absorbed by the pasta. Add salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Add the flat-leaf parsley and toss to evenly coat.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and finish with a glug of extra virgin olive oil.
- Serve and enjoy!
Many thanks to Pernod Classic for sponsoring this post. I’ve got a couple more recipes to share in this series, so be on the look out for those! You can find other awesome recipes, cocktails, and tips by checking out the hashtag #PernodCooking on social media.