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Rioja & Food

Recipe of the Month

Chop House Spaghetti

This is a recipe courtesy of the James Beard Foundation. The London Chop House was a Detroit dining institution during the 1940s and 1950s, and a favorite of James Beard’s.


Yield: 4 servings



1 dozen large or 2 dozen small oysters, fresh or canned

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped onions

1 cup white wine, oyster liquor, or clam juice

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3/4 pound spaghetti

Fresh basil, chopped



Chop oysters or leave them whole, as you wish. (Beard preferred his chopped.) Save any liquor from the oysters. Melt butter and olive oil in a skillet, add garlic and onions, and sauté until wilted and just beginning to turn golden. Add the oyster liquor plus enough clam juice or white wine to make 1 cup liquid. (If you don’t have any oyster liquor, use 1/2 cup clam juice and 1/2 cup white wine.) Cook this down for 2 to 3 minutes, until it’s reduced by nearly half, then add parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, have ready a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water to cook your pasta. Boil the spaghetti rapidly until it reaches the stage of tenderness you like. Drain well. Toss oysters in the sauce just enough to heat them through. Add more chopped parsley and a touch of fresh basil. Divide the pasta among 4 plates, spoon the oyster sauce over it, and serve at once.