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February 16, 2013

Culinary Conversation: What are your favorite Lenten recipes?



Heat a large pot of salted water and when it’s boiling, drop in the pasta. While the pasta cooks, quickly prepare the sauce. Heat the oil in a large skillet, then add the scallions and peppers, and sauté a few minutes. Pour in the wine and when it has boiled hard for a few seconds, add 2 tbsps. of the tarragon, fish stock, salmon, cream, salt, pepper to taste and optional Tabasco. Let simmer gently until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the mixture in the skillet along with peas. Toss gently together and serve when heated through, sprinkling each serving with remaining tarragon and the parsley.

Clam Bake

  • 4 tbsps. butter, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 boiling potatoes, peeled and diced into medium-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 tsps. fresh thyme leaves (about 6 sprigs), minced or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 3 cans chopped clams and their juice (6.5 oz. cans can), divided
  • 1 lb. medium shell pasta
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Preheat the broiler. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat to boil.

Place a large skillet over medium heat with 2 tbsps. butter. Add the onion, celery and carrots; season with salt and pepper and cook until tender but not caramelized, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the potatoes, thyme, juice of the clams and 1/2 cup of water to the skillet and bring the liquids to a bubble. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

While the vegetables are simmering, drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook al dente, according to package directions. Just before the pasta is ready, reserve a large mug of the starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pan it was cooked in.

While the vegetables and pasta are cooking, place a medium saucepot over medium heat with the remaining 2 tbsps. butter. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and cook for 1 minute. Whisk the milk and 1 cup of starchy cooking water into the roux and bring to a bubble. Add the clams to the sauce; season with salt and pepper and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. Keep warm.

When everything is ready, toss the cooked vegetables and prepared sauce with the cooked pasta and transfer to a large casserole dish.

Sprinkle the bread crumbs and grated cheese over the surface of the casserole and brown under the broiler. Serves 6.

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Yes. All evidence points that way.
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