Italian Lentils Eduardo (Lenticchie)

Italian Lentils Eduardo (Lenticchie)

This is my 88 year old Dad’s recipe.   He cooked it yesterday at home and brought it over today so that we could all enjoy it together for dinner.  Yes, he still lives alone, and he still drives, and yes, he still cooks.  He is healthy, sharp of mind, and vibrant.  The only challenge he has is his hearing, and if that is all, well, bless his heart! I told him that I wanted to add this recipe to my blog, and he insisted I call it  “Italian Lentils Eduardo”.  That’s because his name is Edward.  I call him Daddy-o.  Daddy-o AKA Chief AKA EduardoMy husband calls him “Chief”.  His nick name is Chief, ever since he told Wayne and me the story of  his grandfather, “Chiefie”, who taught him to play poker and pinochle.  Chiefie also smoked cigars, and my Dad enjoys a good cigar himself to this day (as you can see in this current picture).

Daddy-0, also known as Chief and Eduardo, is also very opinionated in the kitchen when I am doing the cooking.  He has to stir the pot, in many ways, so to speak.  My Mom used to find his culinary bossiness very annoying, and now I well understand.  But at 88 years old, you have well earned your rights to be opinionated in every realm, and along with his opinions come a plethora of wisdom.   I make sure I hear and appreciate every nuance of wisdom he offers.

So, tonight, after dinner, this amazing man, my Dad,  jotted down on a tablet of paper his “lenticchie” recipe.  He asked for paper and pencil.  He said he had to write it all down and think it through, before he could tell me what he did.  I sat across from him with my lap top patiently waiting for the disclosure of ingredients and method.  Two generations and two methods of transcription to provide you with a very unique and delicious dish.  He is thrilled that I am sharing his recipe with the world, and he also wanted me to tell you that he contributes his longevity to eating a lot of lentils and a lot of legumes.

Daddy-o, Chief, Eduardo, call him anything, but don’t call him late for dinner!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. dry lentil beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2/3 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz) chopped Italian tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup good quality olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste

 

Method:

Sort and wash lentils. Place in large saucepan with water and chicken broth. Cook until tender about
one hour.

To prepare Dad’s mirepoix of vegetables:  Saute garlic in oil until lightly golden. Add onions. Lower heat, cover, and
simmer together until transparent. Uncover and add ¼ cup water, celery, carrots, parsley, tomatoes, salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer for one hour.

Then add completely cooked lentils to mirepoix of vegetables.

Simmer together for 5- 10 minutes.

Serve alone with bread or on top of gluten free pasta or brown rice.

The Proverbial White Clam Sauce (Pasta alle Vongole)

White clam sauce with gluten free pasta

I just adore pasta fixed any which way, BUT, and this is a big BUT, no sauce like white clam sauce has this crazy effect on me.    I do believe that I fall in love with my pasta.  The aroma is wonderful.  It is like standing on the beach and a lovely, fresh ocean breeze circulates your face. It is truly a dish like no other pasta dish.  White clam sauce stands alone.  There are many variations of tomato sauce for pasta, but white clam sauce is unique unto itself, and truly, you don’t want to be adding all kinds of extra things to this dish, because its simplicity is what makes it “roar”!

My first encounter with this dish was, of course, my Mom’s.  Her white clam sauce was very simple, and consequently, very delicious.  She only used fresh clams.  The rest was olive oil, garlic and plenty of it, fresh flat leaf parsley, and a shake of salt and pepper to taste.  I watched a well known cook the other day on television make clam sauce,  and I really felt she violated the dish when she left out the garlic!  I found myself shaking my head and not liking the show, as I was taught at an early age that the garlic is an essential ingredient.

It’s a no brainer that my Mom’s white clam sauce was always tops in my mind, until the day that I traveled to Rome in my late twenties.  I remember ordering it in a tiny restaurant  in the vicinity of the Spanish Steps.  It was amazing, and what made it so amazing were the size of the clams.  They were so tiny, and the pasta was covered with about 30-40 plus of them.  I had never had clams that were so sweet, so tender, or so full of flavor.  Again, it was the sum of its parts that yielded the perfect masterpiece.  Yes, I was making a lot of yummy noises while eating that dish.  The ingredients in Italy are very different than here in the United States.  I could actually start a whole blog on just that topic.  Each neighborhood has its own garden plentiful with fresh vegetables and herbs.  It is even a very common thing for a restaurant to have its own garden in the back or side of a hill.  Your salad at dinner was probably growing out there just that afternoon, and that’s what makes it taste so fresh, crisp, and alive.

So, let’s get back to reality here.  It goes without saying, and also may I ask your forgiveness, that my gluten free pasta with white clam sauce rendition cannot compare to the sublime experience of eating it in Rome.   I won’t be replicating that experience for you, sad to say.

However, it is quick, easy, and may I add, that it has “oceans” of flavor.

Va Bene!  (Okay, in Italian).

Ingredients

  • 3 cans (6.5 oz. size) chopped clams
  • (I love Bar Harbor brand, if you can find it near you)
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Large handful freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 small bottle clam juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 pounds gluten free pasta, your choice ( I like Tinkyada Fettucine)


Method

  1. Sautee chopped garlic in olive oil until cooked, but not brown
  2. Add red pepper flakes to hot oil and move around several seconds to release their fire
  3. Add clams with their juice
  4. Add bottle of clam juice
  5. Add chopped parsley
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  7. Bring to a simmer, then cover, take off heat and set aside
  8. Boil your pasta to desired doneness
  9. Drain and pour hot clam sauce over it
  10. Toss and serve