The combination of ingredients in this recipe makes for a light and delicious spring or summer dining experience al fresco. We have chosen to use a mix of clams, mussels and shrimp, but you can mix it up anyway you want to your liking. See Chatty Advice before purchasing clams and mussels.
1 head of garlic
A sprinkle of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Non-stick cooking spray
5 cloves of garlic from the roasted garlic
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of lemon juice about 1 very juicy lemon
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 lb. of mussels cleaned
1/2 lb. of clams cleaned
1/2 lb. of shrimp shells removed and deveined
1 cup of white wine
1 – 8 oz. package of angel hair pasta
1/2 cup of basil chiffonade or more depending on your taste
1/2 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese or fresh grated ricotta salata cheese or more depending on your taste
Place the whole head of garlic on its side. Cut about a 1/4 of an inch off the top to expose all of the individual garlic cloves. Spray the top of the garlic with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Place into a small baking dish and bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove once tender and set aside.
Squeeze 5 cloves out of the roasted garlic and place into a blender or magic bullet. Add olive oil, lemon juice and salt and blend until well blended and has a smooth texture. Pour contents into a small sauce pan. Five minutes before serving, simmer over low heat to warm stirring often so it won’t burn.
Cook pasta per package instructions. Grate the cheese of your choice and cut the basil using the chiffonade technique. Set aside.
In a large pot add white wine and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the clams and cover. Clams will take about 8 minutes. Four minutes later add the mussels and cover. Mussels will take about 4 minutes. A minute later add the shrimp and cover. Shrimp will take about 3 minutes, depending on their size. After 8 minutes have passed all of the clams and mussels should have opened and the shrimp should be a bright pink color. If any clams or mussels did not open, discard them. In a large bowl toss pasta, aioli, cheese and basil and top with seafood or plate individually as shown. Serve additional grated cheese on the side.
Even though seafood is used, the sauce is robust enough to stand up to a Pinot Noir or Sangiovese. Try Bogle Vineyards Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) or Farnese Sangiovese (Italy). For Chardonnay lovers try Becker Vineyards Chardonnay (Texas), J. Lohr Arroyo Seco Riverstone Chardonnay (California)or for special occasions try Rombauer Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay (California). Beer lover’s try Shiner Hefe-Weizen, with lemon wedge (Shiner, TX), Flensburger Brauerei Weizen Wheat Beer (Germany) with lemon wedges or Paulaner Hefe-Weizen (Germany) with lemon wedges.
Mussel and clams must be kept alive until they are cooked. So do not suffocate them in a plastic bag or drown them by soaking them in water. As soon as coming home from the grocery store, empty the bag of mussels and clams into your sink. Thoroughly but quickly rinse all of them. Place into a strainer filled with ice, place the mussels and clams on top of the ice and place the strainer in a large deep container that the ice can melt into. Do not cover. Refrigerate until ready to cook them. When rinsing the mussels and clams, any with cracked shells should be discarded. If you find any that will not close when handled or given a light tap, discard them as well, because they are dead. They will open to breath but once touched, tapped or are moved around they should close. If in doubt smell them. They will probably have a bad odor if they are dead. When mussels and clams are cooked they should open. If some mussels or clams did not open after cooking them, discard them. However, if half did not open they may not have been cooked long enough. Some mussels and clams will only partially open, if in doubt, discard them.