Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sponsored: Victoria Fine Foods Pasta Sauce

When it comes to comfort food, linguine with (red) clam sauce is way up there on my list. I have fond memories of my dad making it for us - it was his specialty - alongside his classic "secret recipe" garlic bread. Learning to make these dishes was important to me as a youngster, and it's something I've made over and over again as an adult.

Now, these are not fancy recipes. This pasta is quick and easy and one of those low effort high reward type dishes. But man, is the payoff worth it.

When Victoria Fine Foods reached out about expanding their pasta sauce line to California, and asked if I'd be willing to try their sauce and write about it, I started thinking about linguine with clam sauce, and my mouth started watering. Done deal. I'm glad I got to try their sauces -- I don't often buy jarred tomato sauce, but I do like to have go-to brands I can keep in the pantry for those nights when I don't want to make sauce from scratch. It's a great staple, marinara sauce. Versatile and delicious and just hits the spot on a cold night.

I'll share my recipe with you, because it's worth sharing. Make it, share it. I'm sure my dad will approve (but that garlic bread's still a secret).

Linguine with red clam sauce
feeds 4 people, plus leftovers, unless you're super hungry

1 box linguine (or fresh, if you have it)
1 jar marinara sauce (this time, I used Victoria Fine Foods' Fradiavolo
a few shakes red pepper flakes
a squeeze of lemon
some garlic, if your sauce doesn't have garlic in it 
1-2 cans chopped clams (up to you)
1-2 cans whole clams (up to you)
optional fresh clams, more for show than for the clam meat

How To:
  1. Boil your linguine according to the package directions
  2. Meanwhile, heat your marinara sauce (preferably in a wide pan with sides, like a sauté pan)
  3. When the sauce is simmering, add your shakes of red pepper and squeeze of lemon (to taste, depending on how spicy and/or lemony you like things). If you're adding garlic, stir it in now (as much as you want).
  4. Open your cans of clams, and drain them -- but before you drain them in the sink, drain a little bit of the clam juice (amount is up to your taste and how clammy you like things) into your marinara sauce. Gives it a little more clammy richness and depth.
  5. Add the clams in the last minute or two and stir things around. You don't want to overcook them - they'll get chewy. Really, they only need a minute or two to heat up.
  6. Toss the linguine in the pasta sauce. You want the noodles to be well-coated for deliciousness.
  7. Gobble it up as quickly as possible.

A little plug for Victoria Fine Foods, because I really enjoyed the sauce: "The company uses a slow, kettle-cooked approach to making their sauces, and they use fresh, real food/non-GMO ingredients that provide an authentic homemade sauce in convenient, ready-to-eat form. They do have vegan options as well, and just expanded into California."

Full disclaimer: VFF sent me the sauce to review free of charge, but did not otherwise compensate me for this post. My thoughts and opinions are my own.