A new cookbook landed upon my desk recently, and I couldn’t put it down. “That Noodle Life” has so many great recipes, stories, and ideas. And did I mention there are photos for every recipe?
If you are a noodle lover, this is the book for you. There are low-stress weeknight recipes, date night recipes, and soup noodles to soothe your soul. Think dishes like French onion mac and cheese, Taiwanese beef noodle soup, or cacio e pepe lobster chitarra.
There are lots of tips, such as how to upgrade instant noodles, plus insights into noodle etiquette and making noodles from scratch. The book is a true multi-cultural compendium of all things noodle.
The authors share that in Japan, if you’re lucky and it’s the right season, your miso soup will come with tiny clams. The brininess of the clams pairs perfectly with the sweet umami of miso, something they recreated here with this miso clam linguine.
Steaming fresh clams with garlic, miso, and wine means that when the clams release their juice, everything combines into a quick clam broth that is perfect for tossing with pasta. It’s such a natural idea to pair these flavors, and the results speak for themselves. I like to serve sake, beer, or well-chilled sauvignon blanc with this pasta dish.
Noodles With Miso Garlic Clam Sauce
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons white miso
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 pounds littleneck or Manila clams, scrubbed
- 12 ounces dried or 24 ounces fresh linguine or other long pasta
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the Toppings
- Crispy garlic breadcrumbs
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Finely grated Parmigiano
- Finely chopped fresh parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a large pot with a lid over medium heat, then add the garlic. When the garlic is soft, 2 to 3 minutes, whisk in the miso until smooth. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and cook until the wine has reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the clams and cover the pot. Steam the clams until they open, lightly shaking the pan occasionally to ensure even cooking, 5 to 7 minutes. Open the pan and discard any clams that did not open. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the remaining clams to a medium bowl. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil.
Add the linguine to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions until it is 3 minutes shy of al dente. Drain well, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water.
Add 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the sauce in the pot and whisk until it is emulsified. Add the linguine and cook, tossing gently, until the linguine is al dente, and the sauce is thick and glossy, about 3 minutes. Add pasta water as needed to thin the sauce.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the parsley, half of the clams, and any juices that have collected in the bowl. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the linguine topped with the remaining clams.
Recipe Tips: When buying fresh clams, give each one a tap. If the shell closes, it’s alive. Leave the bag of clams open on the way home so they don’t suffocate. Once you’re home, store them in an open bowl, on ice, in the fridge.
Art courtesy “That Noodle Life” by Mike and Stephanie Lee; Workman Publishing, 2022.