How many times as a child I played the "if I" game, and sometimes I still play it now, especially if someone triggers me off .. and it's not a game as simple as it might seem, or as we thought as children, because it's often hard to find an answer that will fully represent ourselves.
For example, today I tried to dedicate myself for the umpteenth time to this game, and there have been some "if I" really difficult to determine! For example, I wondered, "If I were a song"… Well, I would be "Grace" by Jeff Buckley or "Wish you were here" by Pink Floyd! No, come on, I would be "Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, or perhaps "La strada" by Modena City Ramblers! But noooo: I would definitely be "Un blasfemo" by Fabrizio De Andrè! Eventually, after hours of intensive listening, I realized that if I were a song, I would probably be "Piece of my heart" sung by Janis Joplin, a song about love and anger, strong and intense, sung by a female and hoarse voice, both powerful and fragile … Yes, I think I would be THIS song. I began with the most difficult task: music contains so many facets that it's very hard to choose a single song … but other choices are not simple, as well!
If I were a poet I would be Pablo Neruda, but if I were a poem I would be the fourth of "Dieci poesie per una lucciola" by Clemente Rebora, if I were a color I would be the color red, if I were an animal I would be a dog, if I were a drink I would be a Beer "Super" by Baladin.
If I were a novel I would be "Monsieur Malaussène" by Daniel Pennac (Malaussène, Malaussène, always Malaussène), if I were an album I would be "Non al denaro, non all'amore nè al cielo" by Fabrizio De André, if I were a movie I would be "Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind" (I refused to write its title in Italian), if I were a film director I would be Pedro Almodovar, if I were a comic book I would be "Venerdì 12" by Leo Ortolani… and so on …
But how many exclusions, how many thoughts and afterthoughts to reach these conclusions! And I'm sure I'll change my mind again and again!
But when I found myself thinking (thanks to a big help from the outside) "if I were a recipe, what would I be? ", the response was immediate: "I would be a dish of pasta with clams"!
I would be a dish of pasta with clams, first of all because it's my favorite dish (I'd never be able to say no to pasta with clams), because -just like a good Italian girl- I don't give up so easily to pasta (I'm not a pasta-maniac, but I don't say no to it, if you know what I mean), but especially because in this dish there is the sea that I don't have and I would, there is summer, sun, southern Italy, things far away from me (some just now, others geographically) that I like to take and transplant to Turin, when I feel like to … and today I feel so!
PASTA WITH CLAMS
Ingredients (5 servings)
* 1 kg clams
* a nosegay of parsley
* 2 cloves of garlic
* extra-virgin olive oil
* about 15 Pachino little tomatoes (otherwise, I use tomato concentrate)
* hot pepper
* white wine (optional)
* 500 g pasta (linguine, spaghetti, trenette)
First you have to put the clams in salted water for at least 2 hours, to flush the sand. After at least two hours, rinse the clams under running water and drain them.
(below you can see the bathing beauties)
Now clean the parsley, and chop it together with garlic. Take a frying pan, add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and then add chopped garlic and parsley. After a few minutes add the clams, tomatoes cut in half (or a tablespoon of tomato concentrate, as I did today) and hot pepper, then cover with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, so that the clams have time to open up (it will take about 10 minutes). Then, pour a little white wine (if you want) and let it cook again, always with the lid, until the clams will open fully and release their water. Once wide open, the clams are cooked! Don't let too much water to evaporate, so you can sauté pasta into the clams sauce.
(below you can see the clams sauce – as you can see, there's a little water)
Now bring to boil a pot of salted water (I didn't add any other salt) and put the pasta in: drain it when it's underdone, so you can sauté it for 3 or 4 minutes with the clams sauce (obviously, if you prefer, you can also let a bit more water to evaporate from the clams, and then cook the pasta "normally").
Here is to you my Turinese sea!