Sometimes you just need a girls night (sorry guys). A night to relax, catch up, and drink something girly. Obviously delicious food is required. I love throwing dinner parties, and what better reason to have one than to give my girl friends a break from studying for the Bar. Plus, I got the idea for this recipe when I had dinner with these girls at one of my favorite Italian restaurants in San Diego. If you need a place to take a date, family, or you just want to treat yourself, go to Bencotto. I have dreams about their squid ink pasta with spicy shrimp sauce. But, if you are not in San Diego or you want to make something equally as delicious and easy, this is the recipe for you.
I also made a few other dishes that I want to briefly share with you all. If anyone is trying to come up with a menu for a summer dinner party, these recipes worked really well together, and I didn’t have to spend all day in the kitchen to get all the food ready. For cocktails, I made clementine and red wine spritzers, thanks to Joy the Baker and the Hotel San Jose in Austin, Texas. For an appetizer, I made caprese salad with two large heirloom tomatoes, one large ball of mozzarella, and a handful of fresh basil leaves. I also reduced some balsamic vinegar and drizzled that on the salad along with olive oil. For dessert, I made cherry and plum bruschetta, which I found the recipe for in Bon Appétit. I was lucky enough to have the plums for dessert and the zucchini for the pasta, growing in my backyard. But most of these ingredients are in season and at the store right now anyway, so it’s the perfect time to try these recipes!
Squid Ink Spaghetti, adapted from The Silver Spoon, serves 6
- 1 lb squid ink spaghetti (available at Italian grocery stores)
- 2 lbs clams (or 3 clams per person)
- 1 large or 2 medium zucchini, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Good extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat and add the zucchini. Season with the salt and pepper and cook until the zucchini is tender, continuously turning the pieces so that they brown but don’t burn. Remove the zucchini with a slotted spoon, reserving the olive oil. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente and drain.
About 2-3 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add another tablespoon of olive oil to the saucepan and heat until it just begins to smoke. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the clams and white wine. Cover and cook until all the clams have opened and the sauce has reduced. Take the pan off of the heat and remove the clams, reserving the sauce. Add the spaghetti and zucchini to the sauce and combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add more olive oil if desired. Serve immediately with parsley and clams on top of the spaghetti.