Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day are the same day for the first time since 1945. While many Christian couples will wait until Saturday to celebrate Valentine’s Day, there is no reason that you can’t cook a great meal at home on Wednesday without meat.

This is a favorite, and it goes together quickly enough for a week night. It does remind me of my dad, who loved it and frequently ordered it out. He was one of the most romantic men there ever was. For example, since mom’s favorite food always has been Italian, he ate a lot of it. And because their favorite dates included all of us our entire lives, we benefited as well.

This recipe uses pantry items and canned clams, so you don’t need to live near the sea or have a favorite fresh fish market close by.

If you haven’t given up chocolate, you might dip a couple of large red strawberries in a dab of melted chocolate for dessert at your one full meal of the day. And, likewise, if you haven’t given up the bubbly, a glass of crisp white would go delightfully with this.

Here’s a pro tip though. If you’re stressed about getting to Mass for ashes and getting everybody home and fed, save this recipe for a Friday. There are seven of them this time around. And serve grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for supper tonight. A less stressed mom will be a Valentine’s gift for everyone.

Here’s to this season, which seems to become more poignant with age. And while “giving up” may not be as in vogue as it once was, it often is easier than “giving more” — of our time, our talents, our treasures.

After all, it doesn’t particularly help those around me when I’m on my 46th day without a sip of vino.

Happy Lent everyone!

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small diced onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon lemon juice

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1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

3 cans minced/chopped clams, with juice

1 teaspoon parsley

Parmesan cheese

1 pound linguine or 1 pound thin spaghetti

  • In a 5-quart pot, heat water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente.
  • While the pasta is cooking, melt butter and olive oil in pan.
  • Saute onion and garlic, and add crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Add lemon juice, oregano, basil, and Old Bay seasoning, stir for one minute. Add clams with juice.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Drain pasta and place in large bowl.
  • Cover pasta with clam sauce, stir well and top with parsley and Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve with warm crusty bread and chilled white wine. Serves 4.
  • (Recipe from

Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS


Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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