Friday, August 15, 2008

Armida's Pasta with Sassy Clam Sauce

Dear all, Sorry I've been neglecting the blog. I'm in the process of moving to our new house (YAY!) while my hubby is out to sea, so you can imagine all I've been doing is packing and eating out at fast-food restaurants (yuck!). Today, I decided to make something good and carbo-loaded for myself because I needed energy. And all I had were canned clams, pasta and half of a Roma tomato. So, I came up with the easiest spaghetti with clams ever. Give this a try...and any non-oaky white wine goes excellent with this dish. OK, back to packing...


  • Half a pound spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • 1 tsp. Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tsp. flour
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced (or 1/4 tsp. garlic powder if you're feeling lazy)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 can of clams, drained but RESERVE THE JUICE
  • 1/4 cup good white wine
  • Half of a tomato, or a small Roma tomato, seeded and diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley (or 1/4 tsp. if you're still lazy)

Cook pasta according to package directions (you want al dente pasta). Don't forget to salt the water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat add oil and butter and let butter melt. Then add flour. Keep stirring (or whisking) for about one minute. Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes and let whisk again for 30 seconds, then add the reserved clam juice and white wine. Bring to a simmer and keep on low for 4 minutes. Add the clams and keep cooking another 2 minutes until clams are heated through. Lastly, add the tomatoes to the sauce. NOTE: if your sauce starts to get too thick, add a little of the pasta water a few tablespoonfuls at a time. Taste sauce for salt and pepper and adjust seasoning.

By now, your pasta should be ready. Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the skillet with the clams sauce. Mix it to combine, turn off the heat and add the parsley. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


For my sister-in-law's baby shower, we had paella as the main dish. We hired my friend’s dad to come over and cook this very flavorful and fragrant rice dish in a huge paellera. Anyway, a few secrets we learned from watching him cook it outside were: he used Uncle Ben's rice and he also used Goya Sazon con Azafran instead of pure saffron. This is definitely not an authentic Spanish paella recipe, but it's so tasty. I bet you can probably feed up to 10 people with this recipe; I would suggest you use a very large paellera or skillet to cook it in. The trick to paella is you want everything to cook evenly and in an even layer. Maja!


  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. of pork shoulder or butt, cut into bite-sized pieces, and seasoned with salt & pepper
  • 2 medium-sized boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces, and seasoned with salt & pepper
  • 1 medium-sized links of hot or sweet Italian sausage or chorizo (remove casings and slice into bite-sized pieces)
  • 8 large raw shrimp (deveined and peeled)
  • 8 large raw clams (scrubbed)
  • 8 large raw muscles (scrubbed and de-bearded)
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 12 cloves of garlic finely chopped (you can half this if 12 cloves is too much for you)
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup of frozen sweet peas
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • salt (Kosher or sea salt preferable)
  • 2 packets of Goya Brand Sazon Con Azafran (found in most large supermarkets with ethnic sections or Mexican grocery stores)
  • 1 large green or red pepper cut into thin strips
  • 8 lemon wedges (for serving garnish after cooking)

Add olive oil to paellera or large skillet and warm over medium-high heat.

Add chicken and pork pieces and cook until browned all over, but not completely cooked through (about 4 minutes total). Remove chicken and pork to a separate platter. Add the sausage and cook and brown evenly until about ¾ done – remove from skillet and place on same platter; leave poultry, pork and sausage drippings in the skillet along with the olive oil.

Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and saut̩ for 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally Рthen add garlic and saut̩ mixture for 2 additional minutes. In the meantime, mix the Goya Brand Sazon Con Azafran packets in 2 cups of hot water.

Add back to the skillet partially cooked chicken, pork and sausage, UNCLE BEN’S® rice, canned tomatoes, frozen peas, water with Sazon and low-sodium chicken broth. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. If you're using a paellera, cover with a lot of foil.

After 20 minutes, check rice. Depending on the humidity, Homeland Security threat level and the alignment of stars, your rice may be still be slightly al-dente. If so, add 1/4 cup water and keep heat on low until desired doneness is achieved.

Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary. During last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking, gently toss in shrimp and peppers, and top with mussels and clams. Let stand covered until all liquid is absorbed and clams and muscles open up, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with lemon wedges and serve your guests! Don't forget the sangria.