Wednesday, March 24, 2010

“Mommy and Maggie Cooking”

We are a Food Network family, there’s no doubt about that. Our family’s idea of reality TV is “The Next Food Network Star.” We make our picks early in the season, then see if we’re right. The best star yet – Guy Fieri, no doubt about it. My son, Joe, called it from Day One.

Food Network shows also spill over into playtime. The kids have often set up their own “Iron Chef America” in the basement play area. Usually one parent and one child are pitted against each other with play food, while the other child fills the role of Alton Brown, Food Stadium commentator extraordinaire. The leftover parent is the judge.

In our real kitchen, the kids are experts at making scrambled eggs and dicing up vegetables. In fact, last year I bought them each their own kid-sizP3220001e Furi knife and safety glove.  Yes, I admit it, I love Rachael Ray — because from her I learned to easily peel and cut an onion, and because from her I learned how great parsley can be as an ingredient (as opposed to just a garnish) … and I love QVC. Put them together (Rachael Ray lent her name to the knives and she was on QVC selling them), and it was a disaster for my checkbook. Oh well, the kids are happy. Isn’t that how we rationalize it?

Most fun of all, though, is a real-life “show” my daughter has developed for helping with dinner in our kitchen. In “Mommy and Maggie Cooking,” she dices and commentates while I do all the mommy work. I’ve got to hand it to my girl, she makes it fun, asking me questions: “So, Mommy, tell us exactly what you are doing now.” And, “Mommy, why do you use that [silicone] spoon instead of the wood one?” And, “Now, Mommy, how long do we have to boil this?” It is the cutest thing ever.

So this week, Mommy and Maggie Cooking (with the help of “Mighty Joe”) presents my mother’s infamous Spaghetti and Clams – the white kind. It’s actually one of my favorite go-to recipes when I’ve planned nothing else for dinner. Everyone likes it, it’s simple to make, and the ingredients are easy to keep in the pantry for weeks on end. The only fresh ingredients are garlic and grated cheese – and since these are staples in my kitchen, well, no worries there.

We begin by boiling the water for the spaghetti. I know linguine is the classic choice, but I prefer thin spaghetti or capellini myself. My mom taught me that. This meal we use angel hair pasta. Barilla angel hair pasta. We like Barilla. And however long Barilla says to cook the pasta on the package, I add one minute and it comes out perfectly al dente every single time!

Next, the garlic. Six cloves. Peeled and minced.


Add the pasta to the boiling water, 7 minutes on the clock for the angel hair.


And while we’re talking spaghetti, here’s another thing I love from Rachael Ray — her spaghetti pot is genius! All my life, I’ve fought with spaghetti that didn’t fit in the pot I was cooking it in … but not anymore:


It is the perfect size and shape! And I use it for everything! (You know I do; this isn’t the first time you’ve seen it here! If it is, you need to go back and read this blog from the beginning!) Next sale at Kohl’s, I highly recommend you get yourself one!

But back to dinner: Add the garlic to the olive oil in the pan, sauté a few minutes, then add your three cans of minced clams in their juice.

Aren’t they good helpers?

When the pasta is done, drain it, add the clam sauce and grated cheese, mix, add black pepper if desired, and enjoy immediately.

Quick, easy, delicious! Mamma e Maggie (e Giuseppe), si cucina.


Spaghetti and Clams
(Click here to view
and print recipe)

Spaghetti and Clams on Foodista


Allie and Pattie said...

Too cute! You can tell from our blog that we cook together- actually, I cook and Allie taste tests! And the spaghetti pot! I haven't seen that- must check it out!
xoxo Pattie

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi! It's nice to find your blog through Pattie's blog.
Your children are such good helpers and I think it's so wonderful tney love to cook!
My husband is a native Italian so I learned how to cook authentic southern Italian foods by watching his mom and sisters. They are from the province of Calabria and one rule they have is never serve fish with cheese. Red pepper yes, cheese no! :-)

Maria M. Boyer said...

Pat, it's nice to meet you. Yes, I've heard that too about cheese and fish ... but what can I say? I like it. I look forward to seeing your blog as well.

Wendy said...

What a great pot...I am going to keep a watch on Kohl's! We learned to cook from Tony's mom and we also do fish and cheese together :)
Tell Maggie she did a great job!