Christmas Eve Dinner
I hope everyone is having a great and relaxing Holiday season and that you had a very Merry Christmas. I had a great first Christmas being a mom! Wrapping presents, taking pictures, playing with new toys and having a very overstimulated baby! I wanted to go simple with the cooking this year especially since it’s just the 3 of us. I’ve always wanted to start the Italian tradition of the 7 fishes on Christmas Eve but with a 10 month old sick baby this wasn’t the year to start, but I did have 1 fish, or shellfish really. Maybe I’ll add a new fish course every year until I hit 7. Or maybe next year I’ll just make a Cioppino (Italian Fish Stew) when I don’t have to worry about breast feeding and mercury levels.
This year I decided to make my very favorite pasta dish. Linguine with clam sauce. This is the dish I would want for my last meal. It was delicious! Not quite as hot as I like to eat my pasta, but some things change when you have a baby to tend to. I’ve been called a ‘pasta snob’ which I can agree with. Not to say that I won’t eat a plate of pasta made with love I just tend to avoid going to Italian restaurants unless I know they’re excellent because why go pay money for pasta that’s not as good as what I can make at home? That comes from being half Italian and from making my pasta on Sundays with my dad growing up.
This was our delicious Christmas Eve dinner. Linguine with Clam Sauce, asparagus, caprese salad drizzled with white truffle oil, a store bough pumpkin pie for Andrew and Panettone for Annabelle and I. The linguine took no time to make. I made enough for 2 good-sized servings. Here’s the recipe:
Linguine with clam sauce (2 adult + 1 baby serving)
1 1/2 lbs clams in their shell
2 – 3 tbsp chopped garlic (I love garlic, if you don’t use less)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
salt, black pepper and red pepper to taste
a handful of chopped fresh parsley (if your breastfeeding go easy on the parsley, it can cause a decrease in milk supply).
1. Scrub the clams very well and make sure they are all closed, discard any of the open ones
2. Add them to the broth in a pan and cover, on high, toss them around every once in a while, until they open, about 5 min, depending on how big your clams are.
3. When the clams are open strain them and set them aside, keep the juice, you’ll need it in step 5.
4. Add the olive oil to a pan and once hot saute the garlic, adding salt and pepper
5. Add about 2 tbsp. of the clam cooking water, keep the rest in case you need it later.
6. Once the pasta is cooked (don’t forget to add salt to the pasta water!) add it to the garlic and toss, add a little more of the clam cooking water if it’s dry, it should be perfect though, remember that this recipe is for 2 people so don’t use a whole package of pasta unless you double the other ingredients or else it will be dry. I like to take the pasta out a minute early and then finish cooking it in the sauce, I also like my pasta al dente.
7. Add the clams to the pasta to reheat them and then toss on the parsley.
I set some plain pasta aside for Annabelle and put it in the food processor with some asparagus and a little bit of the linguine with clam sauce, I was afraid the taste would be too overwhelming for her. She threw her spoon at me and demanded a bite off my plate. She loved it as much as I did! So here she is getting Andrew to cut up some linguine with clam sauce for her which she then ate with her hands and ignored everything else on her plate. Surprisingly enough she even ignored the mozzarella and tomato which I wasn’t expecting since she loves cheese and loves pico de gallo (that’s the only way she’s had tomato so far). But I understand ignoring everything else for the love of pasta. What a perfect little Italian baby.
Of course you can’t end a meal like this on Christmas Eve with anything other than Panettone. Annabelle agreed. I cut up a few pieces for her and she was in Italian carb heaven. Here is my little pasta head after her first Christmas Eve dinner. Success!