An Unconventional Christmas Dinner

Such a nice Christmas!  Our families and Santa were very generous to my two little ones – Evelyn finally got her baby bed! –  so we spent much of the day playing with new toys.  And, for the first time in 13 years we enjoyed a white Christmas.

We started the day with a very nice homemade brunch including a breakfast strata, a great meal for a busy morning because it is prepared the night before.  Chris shucked some fresh oysters and prepared grapefruit.  We enjoyed freshly squeezed orange juice, too.  Wouldn’t it be nice if every day started like this?

Dinner tonight wasn’t a traditional Christmas ham or prime rib because we don’t eat beef or pork.  Instead, we prepare seafood on special occasions.  So, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when my husband requested linguine with clams for Christmas dinner as it is one of his favorite meals.

When Chris (who was then my boyfriend) came home from Iraq, one of the first meals I made for him was linguine with clams.  He recently told me that it was his most memorable meal of his whole life; I am fairly certain that meal sealed our fate as a couple!  It is our “go-to” recipe on quiet date nights in, and even though it is easy to make it feels very special.

This recipe is inspired by a dish my mom likes to make.  I feel so fortunate to have a mother who took the time to prepare homemade dinners seven nights a week when I was growing up.  She really made an effort to make sure we had a healthy and interesting meal at the end of every day.

Linguine with Clams

2-4 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
dash red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
1 dozen fresh clams (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 can chopped clams with juice
grated parmesan
chopped basil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook noodles for 1 minute less than package directions.

Meanwhile, start sauce.  In a large pan over low heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter into 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Slowly saute onion, garlic and red pepper flakes until softened.  Add lemon juice and wine.  Heat until the liquid starts to reduce.  Add fresh clams, if using.  Cover and simmer until clams open.  Add parsley and canned clams with the juice.  Stir well to heat through.  Add more butter and olive oil to thicken sauce.

Toss cooked linguine noodles into pan with sauce and heat for a minute or two.  Generously grate fresh parmesan and stir well.  Twirl into serving bowls and top with fresh basil and more parmesan.

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2 Comments for this entry

  1. the mama bird diaries says:

    Sounds like a delicious Christmas. Yum.

  2. Amanda Gibson says:

    mmmmmm – your linguine with clams looks delicious!

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