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
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.