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BVC Eats: Marie Esposito’s white clam sauce

Sun&Sea Whole Baby ClamsI worked for Marie at the Yale School of Music when I was first married. I adored her. She was called the manager or something, but in reality she kept the place running. Our mutual boss was a bow-tie, that is, a Yale man who had graduated in the 1950s and had held a bunch of jobs out in the world before returning to a low-pressure position in the bosom of Mother Yale, where he couldn’t get into trouble. I believe it was he who reinstituted the gracious 50s tradition of Friday tea. Every Friday it was my happy duty to order in cheese, crackers, and lots and lots of wine, and lay all this out in ye olde stone lobby of the music school building in front of a giant stone fireplace that was never used. (I can’t remember serving any actual tea.)

Marie gave me this super-simple recipe because I think she thought I couldn’t cook. She was, at the time, perfectly right. (I could bake tollhouse cookies, period.)

You can use other kinds of clams if you can’t get steamers, which were easy to find in New Haven. Heck, I normally use canned.

4 garlic cloves, peeled, sliced, smashed
¼ cup mild olive oil
2 T butter
½ lb fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 medium white onion, minced
2 10-oz cans whole baby clams in their juice
½ bunch Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, rinsed well and minced
A slosh of dry white wine
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 t flour

Saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil until soft.

Add the mushrooms and parsley and saute until the sauce turns greenish.

Add the wine, butter, clams, and clam juice and simmer about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle a little flour, a pinch at a time, into the sauce, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened to your preference.

Salt and white pepper to taste. Simmer 5 more minutes.

Cover, turn off the heat, and let sit while the pasta cooks.

This goes over linguine or spaghetti.

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