Linguine with Clam Sauce

It is so nice to be back to blogging today! I hadn’t intended for things to be so quiet over here the past few days, but Hurricane Irene had other plans.

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Sunday morning I woke up fairly early, about 6:30, and went downstairs to survey the damage and start getting breakfast ready. The storm’s effects had begun to be felt overnight and we have two fairly large trees in our yard that we knew might be in trouble if Irene’s winds were as strong as the forecasts were predicting they might be. At that point, damage was minimal – just some downed branches, but nothing major. I got to work on making pancakes (more on those later this week) but mid-way through my efforts, we lost power. Fortunately, we have a gas stove, so I was able to finish cooking breakfast, though I did have to break out a flashlight as there wasn’t much natural light to work with.

I hunkered down with my pancakes and eventually, when I got bored of sitting in the dark alone, went to wake up Shane. When he came down we again surveyed the damage, and that’s when we noticed that the tree in front of our house had developed a large crack in one of its trunks, and was swaying dangerously in the wind. Fortunately, it didn’t appear that it would fall on our house if it did go down, but still, not good. We went outside to check it out, and within no time, many of our neighbors had come over to help us figure out what to do. Irene’s worst was still to come, and this particular tree’s branches weave in and out of our power lines, so we really didn’t want it to take them out if/when it fell.

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In the end, the guys worked to secure the cracked trunk with a chain, using another trunk for support while I snapped pictures with my iPhone :) It was pouring, and we were all drenched, but thanks to the help from our neighbors, the task was accomplished! The quick fix seemed to be working!

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Shane and I spent a large part of the day staring out the window watching the trees that surround the house bend at completely unnatural angles, just waiting for something to happen. The one in front of our house continued to sway (there was a bit of slack in the chain) but I’m happy to say it held! The only major incident in our neighborhood was a tree that fell on a house, but luckily it didn’t seem to do much damage.

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Our power was out for the rest of Sunday, and Monday morning we awoke and discovered we were still without power. We were hearing reports that it could be days or even the end of the week before it was restored. Water was starting to drip from our freezer, so we went out in search of ice last night (we visited 6 or 7 stores, but no luck at any of them). As we were heading home, we began to notice lights on in the houses near ours and we were beyond excited when we pulled into the driveway and saw a light on in our house too!! Power was back after about 36 hours – yay! We know we’re lucky, many of our friends and family are still without electricity, and a lot of people sustained far worse damage than we did.

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So, now that we’re all caught up, let me finally tell you about the food.  I’m sharing this linguine with clam sauce today because it is the meal that made our dark Sunday night a whole lot brighter.  I’d first made the dish earlier last week and we both loved it.  It’s a super simple weeknight meal, but packs a lot of flavor for so little effort.  Yes, it is made with canned clams, but they’re very tender in this dish and, bonus – they’re cheap.  When we were trying to decide what our dinner options were without power on Sunday, I realized this linguine with clam sauce was made entirely on the stove top, and since I was an expert at lighting the stove with a match by this point, dinner came together in no time.  As we ate by candlelight in our dark kitchen, it almost seemed like a romantic date night and it sure beat eating Ramen or baked beans :)

Linguine with Clam Sauce
from Big Bowl of Love by Cristina Ferrare

1 lb linguine
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups flat leaf parsley, loosely packed and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 (6 1/2 oz) cans minced clams in clam juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Cook the linguine in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente according to the package instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds. Add the oil and heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic, parsley and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, just until the garlic is fragrant and golden, about 30 seconds. Don’t walk away, the garlic can burn quickly and if it does, it will be very bitter. Stir in the clams and their juice and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and cover. Set aside while the pasta finishes cooking.

Drain the pasta then add it back to the pot you cooked it in. Pour the sauce over the pasta and add the lemon juice. Toss to coat, then serve garnished with lemon wedges.