Sunday we schlepped into town to shop at the big supermarket because they’ve actually got the beginnings of a decent organic produce section there, and the other stuff we needed is way cheaper than at our little local joint. It pisses me off, but the difference in price makes it well worth the 16 mile round trip. I’m trying to buy more in a trip, but go less often, and figure that my haphazard meal-planning style will mean enough trips to the local places to spread the love. Or something.
I had it my head to get mussels, because they have the good Ommegang beer there, and it’s a no-brainer combination. But their mussels were not so fresh. Maine Littlenecks, on the other hand, were just in, so we brought 18 nice ones home. I made a quick dice of leek, fennel, and carrot and threw it in a pan to sweat. Next two fat cloves of garlic, a pinch of herbes de Provence, and three tiny but firey pepperoncini. (I have now successfully raised Milo’s tolerance to the point where he doesn’t notice a decent baseline heat.) Once all that was soft, I added a glug of cream, a knife of tomato paste, and a pour of beer, followed by all the clams.
Once they all opened, the pasta (whole wheat spaghetti) was ready and the one went atop the other for a pretty tasty variant of spaghetti alle vongole. Sweet, plump, tangy, a little rich, a little spicy- bells were rung. And it was excellent with the beer: a Rare Vos, their amber ale, which I think is my favorite; it’s more like a bitter and less creamy and cloying than some of the others. It ended up as a compelling and satisfying Italo-Belgian hybrid meal, but not so satisfying that I don’t still want moules frites in the near future.