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by Liren Baker

Liren Baker is the voice behind the blog Kitchen Confidante, where she shares taste and inspiration in the kitchen. Inspired by the beauty of food, what it represents, what it invokes, and what we can create out of it, she shares recipes and images that remind her of her heritage, her childhood in New York, and the vibrant culinary culture she has learned to embrace in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she currently lives.

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  • As much as I love to cook and there seems to be an unending supply of inspiration, I hit a rut in the kitchen once in a while. I find myself buying the same ingredients and run out of ideas for the age old question, "What's for dinner?" Thank goodness for family. Sometimes all it takes is my husband spearheading a trip to the grocery store. He usually finds all kinds of interesting goodies to bring home, and it's like an episode of Chopped, right in our own home.
  • Lately, I've been finding that the kids are also helpful. A few weeks ago, I had them plan our menu. Italian dishes reigned supreme that week, with my daughter requesting lasagna,and my son begging for linguine with clams.
  • Actually, in truth, he begged for lobster. But lobster wasn't in the budget so we negotiated. Dungeness crab? He asked. How about clams, I bargained.  Done.
  • We revisited this old favorite and it reminded me that I really do need to add this to the rotation. Linguine with Clams is so quick, and so satisfying, it's the perfect weeknight meal. The best part? It's a dish the whole family loves.

    LINGUINE WITH CLAMS
    Serves 4-6

    INGREDIENTS:

    1. 1 lb linguine
    2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
    3. 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
    4. 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
    5. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    6. 3/4 cup white wine
    7. 1 cup clam stock
    8. 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes or red chile paste (add more if you really like kick)
    9. 3-4 lbs (depending on how much you love clams!) Littleneck or Manila clams
    10. 2 tablespoons butter
    11. 1/2 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped


    METHOD:

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with Kosher salt and cook linguine until just
    al dente. Drain and set aside. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and sauté for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until the garlic starts to turn golden. Add wine, clam stock, and chili flakes/paste and allow the liquid to reduce for about three minutes. Add clams to the pan, cover and let cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until the clams open up. Discard any unopened clams. Stir in the butter and parsley. Add linguine to the pan and toss.

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