This is a tasty weekend menu and ideal for date night. I usually use Barilla Gold pasta if I can find it, or I make my own (see my basic pasta recipe). For dessert, it only makes sense to have Tiramisu. You can find that recipe on the blog, as well. Please note: Much of this menu is to taste, so some measurements are approximate.
Ingredients – Antipasti
1 jar of imported tuna in olive oil (available at Mazzaro’s)
1 can of Cannellini beans
1 lb of Cremini mushrooms
2 sweet red peppers
1 small, sweet onion
1 clove of garlic
sea salt and pepper
Ingredients – Linguine with white clam sauce
1 lb of linguine
2 lbs of littleneck clams
2 cans of good quality minced clams
1 jar of clam juice
1 bunch of fresh parsley
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of white wine
pinch of red pepper flake
a little grated Romano cheese (optional)
Ingredients – Garlic bread
12 inch loaf of crusty Italian bread
1/2 stick of softened butter
2 TB of chopped fresh parsley
1 TB of lemon juice
1 – 2 cloves of finely minced garlic
pinch of sea salt
Method – Antipasti
Drain the tuna, reserving the oil. Drain the beans. In a medium bowl, break up the tuna into small pieces. Add the beans and gently mix together. Finely chop about a teaspoon of rosemary. Finely mince about a TB of sweet onion and a tsp of fresh garlic. Add to mixture Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Mix gently. Add a little bit of the reserved oil if it is too dry. Allow to chill in the refrigerator until serving time. Allow to sit for about 20 minutes outside the fridge when ready to serve. Dress with a little olive oil before serving.
Clean and slice the mushrooms about 1/4 ” thick. In a frying pan, add about a TB of olive oil. Heat to medium high. Add the mushrooms. Do not touch for three minutes! Chop a tsp of fresh thyme and add to the pan, along with a 1/2 tsp of sea salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper. Stir the mushrooms. Finely mince a clove of garlic and add to the pan. Saute for another three minutes, or until both sides of the mushrooms are golden. Remove to a bowl and chill until serving. Allow to come up to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.
Heat oven to broiling. Place red peppers whole on a sheet pan about four inches below the broiler. When the char, turn over until all sides are charred. Watch carefully as this happens fast! Remove from oven, allow to cool and remove the skins and the seeds on the inside. Season with a little salt and pepper. Slice into strips and place in a bowl. Chill and allow to come to room temperature before serving. Dress with a little olive oil.
Method – Linguine with white clam sauce
Begin boiling pasta according to package directions. Place a large, deep frying pan over medium high heat and add 2 TB of olive oil, 2 TB of chopped parsley and saute for 1 minute. Add 2 cans of minced clams with juice. Allow to reduce for a couple of minutes. Add white wine. Mince 2 cloves of garlic and add to the pan, along with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Rinse littlenecks and make sure they are all closed. If they do not close when you tap them, throw them away. Add the whole clams and cover the pan. Lower heat to medium. When the pasta is a couple minutes away from being done, drain the pasta and add to the clam mixture in the pan. (The clams should have just opened when you do this.) Toss together and place in a large serving bowl. Check for seasoning. Serve with another TB of chopped parsley on top and a good drizzle of olive oil.
Method – Garlic bread
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, combine all spread ingredients. Cut loaf lengthwise almost all the way through. Spread the mixture on the inside evenly. Wrap loaf in foil and bake for 10 – 15 minutes until the spread is melted and the loaf is toasty hot.