French Fridays with Dorie: Beggar’s Linguine

I had mixed feelings about this week’s recipe selection for French Fridays with Dorie. The recipe’s name, Beggar’s Linguine, is unassuming. Reading through the recipe, it was hard to get my head around just what to expect. Certainly, it was intriguing and exotic: linguine tossed in beurre noisette, a browned butter, with a variety of dried fruit and nuts. It is finished off with grated orange zest, grated Parmesan cheese, and some chopped parsley. I’d never heard of anything like it.

One of the reasons I joined this weekly cooking group is to push me outside my comfort zone once in a while. Sometimes, it’s a technique or an ingredient that presents a challenge. In this case, it was the combination of flavors.

For dried fruit, the recipe called for figs and golden raisins; for nuts, almonds and pistachios. I also threw in some dried apricots and hazelnuts for good measure. The picture doesn’t show it, but my butter browned perfectly. The overall flavor of the dish reminded me of a Christmas cake, like Italian panettone or even a good fruitcake. It was like dessert and dinner, all in one dish.

Only one half of my household will eat dried fruit (that would be me). Given that Dorie’s notes for this recipe said it shouldn’t be reheated or eaten cold, I opted to make a quarter of the recipe to feed just me. What did I think of the Beggar’s Linguine? I’m glad I tried it. I liked it much more than I expected, but given that it doesn’t appeal to the whole family, I doubt I would make it again.

I’m curious to see what my fellow FFwD bloggers thought about this week’s recipe. Check out their links at French Fridays with Dorie. We don’t post the recipes, but consider getting your own copy of the book, Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. In fact, earlier this week, I sent a copy of this book to my sister Jane. After reading my post each Friday, she wonders whether she should own this cookbook. I decided for her.

As backup, in case I really hated this unusual dish, and so that Howard could eat dinner too, I made a reliable standard, Linguine with Clam Sauce, with the remaining three-quarters of the box of linguine. This recipe has evolved over many years. It started with a recipe from my old friend Amy, who now lives in Seattle. I have tweaked it to try to capture my mother’s version of this dish, which was one of my favorites when I was growing up. I always keep some canned clams in the pantry, so this is a quick and easy emergency dish. Here’s the recipe as a bonus, if you want to try it. It’s foolproof.

Linguine with Clam Sauce
Serves 4

1 box linguine (12-16 oz)
2 cans chopped (or minced) clams
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
¼ cup white wine
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 Tbsp chopped parsley
Freshly ground pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions. When it is cooked, drain well.

While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. First, drain the juice from the clams, reserving the juice.

Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the minced garlic and sauté until the garlic is golden, but be careful not to burn it. Reduce the heat if you need to. Add the white wine and clam juice. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and the chopped clams. Simmer for 3 minutes to heat the clams through. Season generously with freshly ground pepper.

Pour the sauce over the linguine and toss well.


Posted on 11 March 2011, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. I may still pull this one out by making a single serving as you did. I couldn’t imagine serving it to the family so as you saw, I went in an entirely different direction. Oh well. I do love browned butter though!

  2. Your dish turned out so colorful! I love that you made a backup dish!

  3. I had the same situation as you did with my husband not eating this. However he was willing to try it and then asked for some spaghetti sauce. Your dish looks great! I will be trying your Clam Sauce…It’s my husbands favorite!

  4. I, too, just made it for one – a quick weekend lunch. I did
    enjoy it, although I can’t see making it for anything other than a
    quick meal – I can’t imagine what you’d serve it with.

  5. Your photos look great! It looks like you had a ton of
    toppings on your pasta! Mmm, that’s best part! :)

  6. Glad you tried this one. I made a small batch too, expecting to take a bit and toss it but I loved it and my daughter kept coming back to eat the noodles from the pan.

  7. I made a single serving as well…knowing the picky family wouldn’t touch this! I was surprised and enjoyed it a lot. Sorry it wasn’t a favorite…

  8. I bet your sister will be happy to receive the book. Both pastas look amazing; I would have had definitely a bit of each. Canned clams are such a lifesaver!

  9. Ha! I am not the only one who made a back up dinner… I made a roasted chicken just in case this was an epic fail. Fortunately, we liked it…

  10. We also love linguine with clam sauce. Two great linguine options!

  11. Wow, two great pasta dishes. I like the way your photo of the Beggar’s Linguine has all the fruits and nuts chopped up small and all mixed in so you get a nice bite of the goodies with each bite of pasta, I think that’s the way it should be! Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your nice comment;-) My husband really liked this dish, I think it was the brown butter with the figs and orange zest, he commented on those flavors.

  12. I left the dried fruit out, and my husband, who loves pistachios, really enjoyed this one. You might be able to turn it into something you both enjoy!

  13. I thought I wasn’t gonna like this and made only a big portion to share with my sister. We both loved it :) thanks for the extra recipe, Betsy. Looks great!

  14. Good for you for trying this recipe with some different fruits. looks beautiful!

  15. It’s funny how most of us made back up dishes doubting the rest of our family members would like this week’s recipe! I’m glad I tried it too but don’t think I’ll be going back for another try! You’re photo looks really great!

  16. Your dish looks so pretty! I’m sorry that Howard didn’t like it and that you probably won’t make it again – we loved it and I especially loved that it came together so quickly. Your linguine with clam sauce looks and sounds so good!

  17. Maybe you could make this dish again without the dried
    fruit? I also thought the pasta was on the sweet side. I had
    leftovers so I reheated them the next day with extra vegetable
    stock. The pasta still tasted good to me!

  18. The single serving was genius. And the boldness to add apricots and hazelnuts! I love it!

  19. Funny, Betsy – the reason we made tha pasta as a side dish was in case we didn’t like it! Perfect timing for your Clam Sauce recipe because I just bought some clams – I’ll let you know when we try it.

  20. I have the BEST sister in the world, don’t I? Can’t wait to try some of your successes. PS – I think this sounds delicious and would have been happy to share it with you!

  21. Your photos are beautiful. I’m beginning to believe that about anything goes with linguine.

  22. It certainly looks delicious! I made it and we enjoyed it very much, it was something completely different with pasta than I have ever had before, so fun for that alone. I saw someone used rotini pasta and made it more like a room temp pasta salad and I thought that looked wonderful as well. Oh, well, we can’t like them all, right? Fun to go outside the box once in awhile! Your clam pasta looks great, too!

  23. I would definitely rather have your linguine with clam sauce!

  24. People have really had mixed feelings about this one. I’m glad you tried it – now you know! I liked it, but still probably won’t make it again.

  25. In my household, the odds were even worse, 75% would not eat nuts or fruit, or neither, and the remaining 25%, i.e. me, would. And I am not as nice as you to make two meals, so I skipped this round of FFwD, choosing to eat vicariously through everybody else:)

  26. It wasn’t a success for me (and my partner wouldn’t try it). I think your recipe would be much more successful, actually – thanks for sharing it!

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