If our kids had to choose one thing to eat for dinner every day, it would be pasta. Specifically plain pasta with just butter and parmesan cheese. I’m sure that there are many children in the world with the same preference and even I wouldn’t touch tomato sauce when I was young, so I’ll usually make pasta once or twice every week. The trick is to keep it interesting for the grownups and find something that the kids end up liking as well. I thought this dish would be a sure-fire winner – it’s just a classic white clam sauce, but I figured it had the appearance of a plain pasta so the kids might go for it. I even splurged for some fresh cockles from New Zealand to top it off (I used chopped clams in the sauce as a cheap way to add some substance). Mia liked the pasta itself, but strangely did not like the cockles – she usually has no trouble with clams. And Claudine was intrigued at first and may have even taken the tiniest of tastes, but in the end had to have her plain pasta. I always save a little bit without any sauce.
Linguine with White Clam Sauce (serves 4)
1 pound dried linguine
2 pounds cockles or littleneck clams, scrubbed and cleaned
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1-2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 small can of chopped clams, drained
1/4 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
salt and black pepper to taste
freshly grated parmesan
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Prepare the sauce at the same time. Heat the olive oil in a large pan until hot. Add the sliced garlic and cook just until it starts to turn golden. Add the cockles or clams, along with a small amount of the broth. Cover immediately, and cook until all the clams have opened, 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped clams, and a little bit more broth. Reduce the heat and simmer until the pasta has finished cooking. When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the pan with the clams. Add the parsley, salt and pepper, and additional broth if you like your pasta a little less dry. Put it into serving bowls, arrange the cockles or clams on the top, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.