Originally created 01/12/00

Stockpiled food translates into tasty meals



PITTSBURGH -- Now that the year 2000 is routinely under way, a lot of people around the country are wondering what to do with stockpiles of blankets, battery-powered heaters, bottled water and, of course, canned food.

The Canned Food Alliance reminds families that post-Y2K canned products can still be put to good use.

"With Y2K passing glitch-free, families should look to their pantry as a source of inspiration for any number of mealtime solutions," said alliance spokeswoman Melanie Barnard, a cookbook author and columnist for Bon Appetit. "Canned food is nutritious, convenient and typically can last two years in storage."

The freshness of canned fruits and vegetables is sealed in naturally, so no preservatives are necessary, she adds.

Canned foods can be used in place of some items that are out of season. And winter may still bring weather emergencies that make shopping difficult if not impossible.

To help expand menu choices, the Canned Food Alliance Web site at www.mealtime.org has a database of canned-food recipes that are nutritious and easy to prepare. Ms. Barnard points out that the recipes featured on mealtime.org can help people combine several canned products in a single meal.

The following recipe from the alliance uses canned tomatoes, clams, anchovies and black olives. Note: People who really hate anchovies can simply omit them and increase the amount of olive oil to 4 tablespoons. But those who are unsure may enjoy including the anchovies -- remember, they are a key ingredient in some of the world's greatest dishes.

Linguine in Spicy Red Clam Sauce

1 pound linguine

2-ounce can flat anchovies

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 large garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 tablespoon chopped garlic)

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

2 6 1/2 -ounce cans chopped clams, drained, with juices reserved

2 14 1/2 -ounce cans "pasta ready" diced tomatoes

2 1/4 -ounce can sliced black olives, drained

1/2 cup white wine or canned vegetable broth

1 cup thinly sliced scallions (green onions)

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

Cook the linguine in a large pot of salted water until just tender to the bite. Drain well. Drain the anchovies, reserving 2 tablespoons of the packing oil and 3 or 4 of the anchovies. (Keep the remaining anchovies for other use.)

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the reserved anchovy oil with the olive oil and cook the garlic over medium heat, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the pepper flakes, reserved anchovies, reserved clam juice, undrained tomatoes, olives and wine or broth. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes until lightly reduced. (Sauce can be made a couple of hours before cooking pasta. Refrigerate but reheat before continuing.) Add clams, scallions and basil. Cook, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through.

Toss sauce with hot pasta and serve.

Preparation time: 30 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 servings.