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Spaghetti alla Fra Diavolo con Vongole

I seem to be falling apart these days! I’ve never been particularly accident prone, but lately I’ve really been taking a beating. About a week ago, I told you about my little spill in the kitchen, where I injured my foot. Well, I broke my toe and really bruised the hell out of that foot. I’m still not able to wear closed shoes! Of course, the fact that I dropped a can of refried beans on said same foot a few days later didn’t help the situation much. Nor did the fact that I smacked it into the living room coffee table last Sunday night when the power suddenly cut out in the middle of a thunderstorm, and I was scrambling for a flashlight.

Now might also be a good time to mention about how I tripped over my tripod and rammed my shoulder into the wall while taking photographs, when the rubber sole of my flip flops got stuck on the carpet. Of course, that seems a little bit lame now that I’m sitting here with a pinkie finger swollen to the size of Florida after getting it smashed in the door of my car yesterday! Oh yes, people, I kid you not.

After picking Mini-SGCC up from school, we decided to stop at the supermarket to pick up a few things. We loaded our bags into the back seat. I leaned into the passenger side of the front seat to drop in my purse and BAM! Mini-SGCC slammed the back door right on my hand! My LEFT hand. Did I mention that I’m left-handed? I panicked! She panicked! And we both stood there like stones for what seemed like forever.

I guess I finally screamed loud enough to get through to her and she opened the door and released me. I have to tell you, I was scared $%&#less to take a look at that hand! It wasn’t because it hurt so much, but because it didn’t really hurt that much. I was terrified that something might not be there, that was there before – if you know what I mean.

While Mini-SGCC was hysterically trying to dial my husband on her cell phone, I collected myself and took a look. Hmm. One, two, three, four, five. Okay, all present and accounted for. Whew! THAT was a relief, but that hand was turning that same interesting eggplant color that my foot had. And, my little pinkie finger was blowing up right before my eyes. Not good.

I loaded my sniffling child in the car and backed out of my parking space. Then, I threw it in drive, stepped on the gas and…..nothing. Huh? I tried again and…..still nothing. The gas pedal didn’t work. I pushed down on it and it just flopped to the floor. Great! I coasted over to the curb in front of the market and called AAA [1]. An hour and a half later, I was still waiting. But hey, at least I wasn’t focusing on my mangled hand, right?
Very long story, short – the thingy that connects the accelerator to whatever it is that makes the car go was broken. The AAA guy towed us to my mechanic’s place and my husband picked us up and took us home.

They say that every cloud has a silver lining. Well, here’s mine. When the power went out on Sunday night, I was in the middle of preparing a delicious fra diavolo sauce for dinner. Everything went black in mid-simmer. Since we had no idea how long we’d be without electricity, we hopped in the car and went to Chili’s [2]. That meant that I still had that batch of sauce to use. I didn’t really feel like cooking, but I didn’t feel like going out either, so I put some water on to boil for pasta, heated up the sauce and dinner was born.

Fra Diavolo sauce is a spicy sauce used in pasta and seafood dishes. Most versions are tomato-based and use dried red pepper flakes for spice. The term literally means Brother Devil. It was originally a nickname given to Michele Pezza [3], a famous Neapolitan guerrilla leader in the late 18th century, who resisted the French occupation of Naples. Shrimp and lobster fra diavolo are the most popular ingredients paired with fra diavolo sauce, but any seafood will work. Since I had initially tossed this sauce together for a quick Sunday night supper, I just used canned clams.

This dish is every bit as simple as my recipe for Linguine with Clam Sauce [4]. The only difference is that crushed tomatoes and red pepper flakes are added in as well. Any kind of long pasta can be used. I used spaghetti this time. It is a zesty and flavorful dish that can be whipped up with one hand tied behind your back, (or packed in ice). So, the next time you’re having a crappy day and you need some fast and easy carb therapy, you might want to give this a try.

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