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Only in Canada, eh?

Spaghetti Cesare.JPG

Canadians invented many things advancing modern life: the electron microscope, alkaline batteries, insulin, and more importantly: basketball, game shows, frozen fish, instant potato flakes, electric stoves, and the Bloody Caesar.  

All, except the Bloody Caesar, have been eagerly embraced by our American cousins. Puzzling, especially since its base, Clamato Juice, was invented in California by the Duffy-Mott Co.; well almost.


In 1969 Italian immigrant, Walter Chell, created the Bloody Caesar in Calgary. Its ingredients were from those in the classic Linguine alla Vongole (pasta with clams) of Walter’s homeland. It was a hit, but his invention, preceding the ready-mixed Clamato Juice was laborious, having to squeeze all that juice out of the clams.  

In the same year, by a suspicious coincidence, Duffy-Mott came out with Clamato Juice. Eventually they hired Walter as consultant and spokesman, but he never received any royalties for his creation which, given that Canadians consume over 30 million Bloody Caesars yearly, is a lot of clams.


Why is the Bloody Caesar so popular here and virtually unknown there? Who knows, but this phenomenon is a reversal  of the synergy between our two nations; we create something then they get to exploit it; Now, how Canadian is that, eh? Plus, it’s better than anything we ever got out of NAFTA. After two ‘stiff’ ones we find ourselves not caring about NAFTA, which is perhaps the point. Although, I think Walter Chell might disagree.


So, in the spirit of reversal, I offer you Spaghetti alla Cesare, Spaghetti alla Walter just didn’t sound right. This is pasta with a clam sauce based on the ingredients in the classic Bloody Caesar. It’s an appropriate dish to celebrate Canada Day with because:

  1. it's red and white, like our flag

  2. it’s inspired by a Canadian beverage which should be our national drink

  3. the Bloody Caesar was discovered by an Italian immigrant following the tradition of other great Italian discoverers like, Cristoforo Colombo, Giovanni Caboto and Amerigo Vespucci after whom a little place called ‘America’ was named.  


              SPAGHETTI  alla CESARE

Ingredients: (serves 4 )

  • 1½ cups Clamato juice (I like extra-spicy)

  • 4 oz. vodka

  • 1/3 cup reserved clam juice

  • juice from 1 lemon

  • 1 tsp. small capers

  • 1 ½ cups canned plum tomatoes seeded and medium diced (reserve juice for another use)

  • 2 cloves garlic crushed

  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 can baby clams, drained and rinsed (reserve juice)

  • 1 lb. imported spaghetti or linguine

  • 2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley

  • salt and pepper to taste



  • cook pasta according to package directions

  • in a deep skillet sauté vegetables except tomatoes, in butter and oil

  • add tomatoes, capers and vodka, sauté for 5 mins.

  • add remaining liquid ingredients, and simmer uncovered while pasta cooks

  • just before pasta is al dente, add clams to sauce, taste and adjust seasonings

  • drain pasta, add to sauce in skillet off heat,

  •  turn pasta, coating it with sauce, serve drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, garnish with parsley


Happy Canada Day!

#CanadaDay #BloodyCaesar  #SpaghettiVongole

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