So it's the weekend before Thanksgiving and you have lots of family coming in? Maybe the cousins from Detroit or the kids are home from college? Well, they all want to eat and but who wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen right before the most labor intensive cooking day of the year?
I learned this fast, little cheat of a recipe from Ruby Menozzi, a Florida friend from Upstate New York. Ruby and her husband Ed come from huge families and they are used to feeding a lot of people, without being stuck behind a stove.
This easy recipe feeds a crowd with little effort because it relies on ingredients such as canned clams, tomato juice, and tomato paste. In fact, Ruby uses garlic from a jar and dried parsley- but even I couldn't go that far! (But it could be done!) If someone feels that bad about cheating with canned clams, run to Sam's Club or Costco and get some frozen clams. Steam them and stick the shells on the top when it served - but wait - who wants to go to all that trouble!
Ruby Menozzi's Red Clam Sauce - Serves 8
Several glugs of olive oil - enough to cover the bottom of a large pot to about 1/8 inch 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 2 teaspoons dried oregano 1/2 cup chopped parsley 1 whole head of garlic, each clove peeled and put through a press or finely minced 1 (46 oz.) can tomato juice 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste 1 (6 oz.) can chopped clams 1 (10 oz.) can whole clams 1 pound of pasta cooked according to package directions
Put oil in pan and warm it up over medium heat. Add pepper flakes, oregano and parsley. After they sizzle for 30 seconds, add the garlic and saute for another 30 second.
Pour in the tomato juice. Whisk in the tomato paste. Add the chopped clams along with the juice.
Turn the heat down to low and allow the mixture to simmer for an hour or so.
About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, drain and add the can of whole clams. If the sauce seems too thick, add a bit of the liquid from the clams and some water. Simmer another 10 minutes.
Serve over spaghetti, linguine, or even zucchini zoodles.
This recipe for pumpkin bread or muffins came from the same source as my family's legendary carrot cake- the Mueller girls. These two sisters, who I knew when we were all teenagers, seemed to be on a diet all the time. It was so ironic that they sure could bake! Just like their fabulous carrot cake, this recipe has typical ingredients but a totally unorthodox way of combining them. Besides that, the directions call for baking it low and slow. It wasn't until years later that I realized how unconventional the recipe was. Nevertheless, my sister Claire and I used the recipe often and brought the resulting pumpkin bread to holiday pitch-ins for years!
Pumpkin Bread - Yields Two Loaves or 24 Muffins
3 cups regular white sugar
3 1/3 cups flour
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts such as walnuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Oil and flour two loaf pans or insert cupcake liners in muffin pans.
Beat together the sugar and eggs.
Add the flour, oil, pumpkin, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Combine well.
Stir in the raisins and nuts.
Make at 325 for one hour for pumpkin bread, about 30 to 40 minutes for muffins. Top will have characteristic crack and when inserted, toothpick should come out clean.
If making pumpkin bread, let the loaf rest 5 minutes before removing from the pan.