At the Barbone household, New Year's Eve is sort of Christmas redux, just without the presents, guests, and cookies. See, I love Christmas Eve dinner so much that each year I want another little taste of it as the holidays draw to a close.
Growing up in an Italian family meant that Christmas Eve centered around a big fish dinner. The meal included at least seven fishes, usually. Smelt, eel, baccala salad (which, according to my grandmother, always contained either too much or too little garlic), fried cod, and fried shrimp. Of course fish wasn't the only food served; we also ate artichokes, garlicky broccoli rabe, antipasta, red wine with tangerine slices and bread. Lots of bread.
But my favorite part of the meal was the pasta with clams and anchovies. I'd slurp up every last olive oil-drenched noodle and hunt greedily around my plate for the tiny bits of salty, prickly anchovies.
Today our Christmas Eve menu isn't nearly as extensive. Over the years our family has grown smaller and there simply isn't the need for all that food. But one dish remains: pasta with clams and anchovies. And we make it again on New Year's Eve.
Thanks to my grandmother's simple recipe, it doesn't take much time, allowing plenty of time to (quietly) welcome in the new year.