Foods can evoke memories in a major way.  Every single time I smell this dish cooking, I’m immediately transported back to our kitchen in my house growing up.  I can hear “All Things Considered” on NPR coming from the radio as my dad prepared dinner for us.  My mom died when I was 10, and my brothers were six and four.  Somehow my dad still cooked well balanced meals for us pretty much every night as we grew up.  Sure, sometimes it was semi-homemade things like Hamburger Helper but looking back with only one child of my own and an extremely helpful husband, I truly don’t know how he did it.  When Mom found out her illness was terminal, she started planning and preparing and doing things to help us after she wasn’t around anymore.  One of those things was to go through all our family cookbooks and put notes on the recipes that we kids liked.

This recipe comes from a now out of print cookbook that our family enjoyed.  It still has Mom’s post-it taped to the cover (as many of our cookbooks do).  The author hosted an old popular cooking show called The Frugal Gourmet that my mom found very amusing.  I remember watching it with her even though I had no interest in cooking at the time, and I thought it was funny too.  I had never considered sharing this recipe before because it didn’t seem blog-worthy.  I mean, it takes about 15 minutes and uses canned clams for Pete’s sake.  But, this is where I share all the recipes I love, easy and complex, fancy and decidedly not so, so I’m sharing it here.  We love this dinner in our household, it holds a special place in my heart, and that’s all that matters to me!

Linguine with Clam Sauce
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12 oz. linguine pasta
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (6.5 oz) cans minced clams, juices reserved
½ cup heavy cream (or half-and-half)
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan, for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Cook pasta according to the package directions until al dente.  Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat until the butter is completely melted.  Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until golden and fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the reserved clam juice to the pan, bring to a simmer, and reduce by about half.  With the heat on medium-low, stir in the clams and the heavy cream.  Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Portion the pasta into warmed serving bowls.  Spoon some of the sauce over the pasta and top with grated Parmesan, if desired.  Serve immediately.

Source: The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine by Jeff Smith