Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fall Cross Country Meets in the Ozarks

Just as everywhere else, Fall is Cross Country season. Our school here in the Ozarks is far too small to field a football team and basketball season is still some weeks away. The athletes who can run tend to join cross country. Meets of varying sizes begin to happen starting in September and Eureka Springs traditionally hosts the Holiday Island Classic here on the banks of Table Rock Lake near the end of the month.

Unlike many areas of the country, today's meet was not crisp and brisk or ideal runners weather. From dawn to nearly 8:00 AM a heavy fog covered the low areas and by meet ending at 11:30, the air temperature was a moist 80 degrees. 

The wife and I have acted as the scorers for nearly a decade and today was like many others. We had a light over-shirt on when we arrived, and by the end, our sun screen was running into our eyes. 

One of the joys of such events, despite the sun, are the people. Everyone knows everyone. The overall boy winner today was Oliver Perez from the next town over at Berryville. We have watched him race since he was a freshman and wished him luck for his last run in our event today. We hope he receives a healthy scholarship to University of Arkansas. 

We also visited with numerous parents, fellow school employees (some retired), students past and present, and with the usual community members who are involved in all local events - our banker, our insurance agent, and such.

Enough preamble. Today's post will be about a quick and easy pasta suitable for week nights or for company. At the same time, this version emphasizes the fresh tastes possible late in the summer.

Summer Seafood Pasta

1/2 small red onion, diced small
one 6.5 ounce can minced clams, drained with juices reserved
12 to 18 raw shrimp, shelled and cut in 3 or 4 bite size pieces
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
6 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
1 large pinch crushed red pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup each minced fresh oregano and parsley
16 ounces fettuccine or linguini  

Heat 4 quarts of water to boiling in a large pot or pasta cooker. Add a palmful of coarse Kosher salt and when the water boils once more, add the pasta.
As the pasta cooks, about 5 to 8 minutes, heat the olive oil to hot but not smoking in a very large skillet. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant (30 seconds to 1 minute). Add the onion and reduce the heat to medium. Saute the onion until translucent. Add the tomatoes and the clams and continue to saute for one minute. Add the clam juice and remove the pan from the heat.
When the pasta is done to al dente, place the skillet back on the heat and drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of liquid.
When the tomato mixture reheats, add the herbs, a large pinch of salt, and the shrimp. Immediately add the hot drained pasta and begin to toss to mix the seafood and tomatoes/garlic/onion. and herbs into the pasta. If liquid is needed, use the reserved pasta water. 
Serve immediately with fresh cracked black pepper and fresh shredded Parmesan or Roman.
Serves four to six.


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  2. One option I did not mention above: Add diced mushroom with the onion.