The month of Mary: A Marian Month
Saint of the day:
Saint Ignatius of Laconi
Patron Saint of Students & Beggars
Saint Ignatius of Laconi
Ignatius was the son of a poor farmer in Laconi, Italy. He was born on December 17, 1701. When he was about seventeen, he became very ill. He promised to be a Franciscan if he would get better. But when the illness left him, his father convinced him to wait. A couple of years later, Ignatius was almost killed when he lost control of his horse. Suddenly, however, the horse stopped and trotted on quietly. Ignatius was convinced, then, that God had saved his life. He made up his mind to follow his religious vocation at once.
Brother Ignatius never had any important position in the Franciscan order. For fifteen years he worked in the weaving shed. Then, for forty years, he was part of the team who went out from house to house. They requested food and donations to support the friars. Ignatius visited families and received their gift. But the people soon realized that they received a gift in return. Brother Ignatius consoled the sick and cheered up the lonely. He made peace between enemies, converted people hardened by sin and advised those in trouble. They began to wait for his visits.
There were some difficult days, too. Once in a while, a door was slammed in his face, and often the weather was bad. Always, there were miles and miles to walk. But Ignatius was dedicated. Yet people noticed he used to skip one house. The owner was a rich moneylender. He made the poor pay back much more than they could afford. This man felt humiliated because Ignatius never visited his home to ask for donations. He complained to Brother Ignatius' superior. The superior knew nothing about the moneylender so he sent Ignatius to his home. Brother Ignatius never said a word, but did as he was told. He returned with a large sack of food. It was then that God worked a miracle. When the sack was emptied, blood dripped out. "This is the blood of the poor," Ignatius explained softly. "That is why I never ask for anything at that house." The friars began to pray that the moneylender would repent.
Brother Ignatius died at the age of eighty, on May 11, 1781. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1951.
Chiesa di Sant'Antonio da Padova - Santuario di Sant'Ignazio da Laconi
Capuchin Friary 94, Viale Sant'Ignazio da Laconi
Cagliari, Città Metropolitana di Cagliari, Sardegna, Italy
Sardinian Fregola with Clams
1 kg fresh small clams ( 2.2 lbs) I used lupini (striped venus clams)
2 garlic cloves peeled
1/2 glass extra virgin olive oil.
2-3 tbsp tomato concentrate (paste)
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
1.5 Lts water (6 cups)
6-8 tbsp toasted fregola
Prepare the clams
Wash the clams and place them in a large bowl with water and salt. Leave them at least an hour. At the end of this time, rinse them again very well under running water and transfer them to the fire in a pan large enough for them to open when heated.
As the clams open, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate or in a bowl. When they are all open, separate the shells keeping the part of the valve that containsthe attached mollusk. We also removed some from the shells completely. Pour the liquid remaining in the pan into a bowl through the mesh of a fine sieve covered with gauze or a thin cloth.
Finish the dish
Chop the parsley and peel the garlic cloves. Heat the olive oil in a separate pan that's wide and has high edges. Add the two peeled garlic cloves and cook until they start to brown and soften. When the garlic is cooked remove it and add the tomato paste. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce is completely soaked in oil. Then add the hot water and bring the sauce to a boil.
When the liquid has boiled for a few minutes, it will be slightly reduced. Add the prepared half clams and the clams without shells if you have them. Then add the filtered clam waterand a handful of chopped parsley. Bring back to the boil, then add the fregola and cook over medium heat for about twenty minutes. If necessary, add a pinch of salt.
Pour the fregola with clams into serving dishes and serve immediately whilst still hot.
I used small clams called lupini (striped venus clams) but you can also use other types of small clams such as littlenecks. This dish is traditionally made with fregola and no other pasta. It might also work with Israeli couscous but I have never tried it! https://www.the-pasta-project.com/fregola-with-clams-recipe-from-sardinia/