Technically, you don't have to eat this pasta dish with linguine but the name 'linguine and clams' is so iconic to me that we're just gonna call it that. I personally loveeee clams with mafaldine too which is like a more wider long noodle with curly edges.
I love adding chopped clams to this dish in addition to the fresh clams in the shell. One of my favorite restaurants serves it that way and the texture + extra amount of clams is so gooood. Also, sometimes I add cherry tomatoes at the same time as the garlic cloves and it's so good that way too!
This dish is enough for two entrees, or three small plates and it takes about 30 minutes to whip up.
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I stumbled upon this recipe from Jessica in the Kitchen last week and changed it around a bit to fit the way I like to eat. I did use her vegan cream cheese recipe and it was FIREEEE, the best vegan cream cheese frosting I've tried hands down so I didn't change a thing about that part. (Tap here for her vegan cream cheese frosting recipe.)
When it comes to desserts, I'm obsessed with trying to find healthier ways to bake them! So instead of using 1 1/2 cups can sugar, I used 3/4 cup maple syrup. I also love subbing out wheat (flour) in baking recipes for a 1:1 oat flour and all purpose gluten free flour combo so I did that here too.
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Loooove me some carbonara. I love making this dish because it can be easily customized. Want it creamier? Add heavy whipping cream. Want to add in some fall flavors? Add some butternut squash or pumpkin puree. Want it to taste like cacio e pepe? Toast some peppercorns and toss em' in. Looking to add some greens? Arugula or spinach both work great mixed in. Want to give it an Asian flare? Miso paste is so amazing in it too! The options are endlessssss.
A few carbonara tips I've learned over the years:
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I baked with applesauce for the first time!! The texture it brings to this cinnamon apple bread is insaneeeee. Don't expect some giant apple flavor to take over your tastebuds, it's pretty subtle but still so sosossoso good. I really love this one because even though one of the main components is apple, there aren't any apple chunks involved in the recipe. I hate apple chunks in any baked good, the texture of this bread is the same as like banana bread/pound cake! Aka, amazingly moist.
If you don't know by now, I have a weird obsession with baking healthy treats. It's usually at the start of a new season when I bake the most. Sooooo, this recipe is actually *vegan* because the applesauce replaces the eggs and I use oat milk instead of cow's milk. It's also gluten free because I used oat flour/gf all purpose flour and then it's nut free too, obviously, no almond flour used in any of my recipes due to my nut allergy! Oh and I used maple syrup instead of sugar so it's naturally sweetened. AHH, SO FUN TO BAKE HEALTHY THINGS THAT STILL TASTE THIS GOOD!
**Everyone's oven works differently and reaches different temperatures at different times so be patient with it and keep checking it throughout the suggested cooking time! It's a little harder for gluten free flour to rise, so if you have options, use a more narrow than wide bread pan.
Also, one more thing. It looks sort of ombre colored and I believe that is because I overdid it with the olive oil I used to brush the sides of the loaf pan. I am always scared that the loaf is gonna stick to the pan so I tend to over do it and that can sometimes lead to the edges of the loaf browning due to the heat and amount of oil seeping into the bread. Just an FYI.
I am having such a hard time writing this blog post because I'm actually eating this right now as I type and I don't want to stop taking bites but I also need to remember the amount of the ingredients I used before they disappear from my brain so here we goooo!
The pasta is gone so now I can actually think. A few notes:
Some people get excited about the cooler weather aspect of fall but for me it's all about the food. I'm a huge fan of all things butternut squash and I especially love pairing it with pasta.
All of the ingredients I used were purchased from my local ALDI grocery store! I was super impressed with not only the value but also the variety and selection of groceries that they offer! I also love that in addition to visiting the store or doing curbside pick up, you can shop with ALDI on Instacart too - perfect for those super busy days. One of my favorite products I found and used in this recipe would be the Priano Three Cheese Tortellini because of how quick and easy it was to make - it only takes a minute or two after being tossed into boiling water and then it's ready to go.
There are a few factors that take this particular butternut squash pasta sauce to a whole new level of cozy. It's obvious that the butternut squash is roasted and pureed but I also roasted a handful of garlic cloves with the squash and coated the entire roasting party in extra virgin olive oil and Stonemill Ground Nutmeg.
This recipe makes enough for two large entrees or 3-4 small sides. Prep time is 10 minutes and cooking time is 45 minutes, so it takes about an hour total to complete!
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