Spaghetti Vongole

15 Jan

This has got to be my favourite pasta dish of all time, Spaghetti with clams. Our trips to Italy just wouldn’t be the same without stopping off in San Remo, at a seaside cafe for Spaghetti Vongole. I plan our journey by it, to be installed, napkin tucked under the chin, ready for a plate of Spaghetti Vongole for lunch. It is a very simple dish though I have had some variations; with cream, with tomato and some simply with clams, garlic and white wine. This is my version which I feel is the best taken from each of the versions I have tried.

Serves 2

* 2 portions dry spaghetti
* 3 tbsp olive oil
* 1 small shallot
* 2 cloves garlic
* 250g small live clams
* 1/4 glass white wine
* Half jar home made passata (about 125g)
* pinch chilli flakes/powder (optional)
* Large handful parsley

Vongole sauce cooking, clams opening in the pan

Scrub the clams and check they are all alive and steep in a bowl of salted water to extract any sand. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and drop in the spaghetti. Boil covered for 6-7 minutes until al dente or cooked to your taste then drain. Meanwhile chop the shallot finely, slice the garlic, mince the parsley and set aside. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok and throw in the onion and garlic, fry on a high heat quickly and throw in the clams, add the wine, chilli and a good grind of black pepper. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes until the clams start to open then pour in the passata or crushed fresh tomatoes. Cook for another minute or so before adding the parsley and cooked spaghetti, toss and serve.

Cook’s Tip
Small clams are not always in season but they are available here around December and January, I always keep a look out for them and make sure to get some when they are in season.

If you haven’t got good quality sieved tomatoes or home made passata use fresh cherry type tomatoes.

This recipe was originally posted on on 15/1/2008.


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