Happy Thanksgiving week, y'all! Every day I am #blessed with many things to be grateful for. Here's a sampling from this month.
1) After four(!) separate trips to the RMV I successfully had my father-in-law's low-number license plates transferred to me. Did you know people like low-number plates? I didn't know it was a thing until we so innocently said, "Sure, we'd like granddad's old plates." It was an epic adventure involving many RMV personalities. There were ogres and trolls who thwarted our mission and fairies and genies who ultimately made our wish come true. If you spot us on the road (#50517) know we earned those digits.
2) November marks my first blogiversary for this here site. By the numbers that's 36 posts, 47 recipes, ~200 hours diverted from Netflix binging, and too-many-to-count new friends. It's been such a fun hobby. Thank you to all for reading!
3) I rang in 31 on an unseasonably warm weekend with family from near and far, cupcakes delivered to my door, and a little 5K to counteract all the feasting. A success I'd say.
When you're done with all the obligatory cooking this week, have some fun and make clams in a brilliant yellow saffron sauce. My friend and neighbor Julia at Formaggio Kitchen gave me some handy saffron-buying tips. Apparently yellow threads are filler for this very expensive spice. The good stuff will just have red threads. The more you know!
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a first course
- 1 dozen cherrystone clams, rinsed and scrubbed clean
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 bulb fennel, cut into small dice (reserve fronds for garnish)
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 clove garlic, diced
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 large pinch saffron
- 1 cup fregola pasta
- 1 1/2 cups water, divided
- Peel the tomatoes by submerging in boiling water until skin splits (about 1 min). Remove with tongs and let sit until cool enough to handle. Slide skins off and discard. Remove core and roughly chop.
- In heavy bottomed saucepan for which you have a lid, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add chopped fennel, shallot, garlic, and salt. Saute for 4-6 minutes until vegetables have softened. Stir regularly taking care not to brown.
- Add chopped tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.
- Add wine and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile cook the fregola and steep the saffron. Place saffron in a small bowl and pour in 1 cup boiling water. Let steep for at least 15 minutes. Cook fregola in salted boiling water until al dente (about 10-12 minutes). When pasta is done drain and set aside.
- Add saffron and steeping liquid to your saucepan with the vegetables. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.
- Return saucepan to your burner and add clams. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes. Discard any clams that don't open.
- Divide fregola among serving bowls and ladle clams and saffron broth on top. Garnish with reserved fennel fronds.