I love clams, especially the tiny fresh little clams we get here, fished out of the Adriatic. Spaghetti alle Vongole is a dish that originates in the Naples area, the area where Italian spaghetti originate from!
This dish is simplicity itself and certainly fits my weekday meal mantra DENS – delicious, economical, nutritious and speedy to prepare.
I often cook enough clams for 2 meals because I need to go to the coast to purchase them. Gasoline here costs around US$9-10 per gallon, so going to the coast for one ingredient is not something that ever happens in our house…as you can imagine! Today I’m making a baked potato dish called a sformato with the extra clams. recipe coming soon!Clams can be sandy, (and I really do NOT like sand on my plate!) so I rinse them, toss any open or broken ones and then put them in a bowl of cold salty water and let them sit for at least a couple of hours before cooking so that they purge the sand from the shells. I find it helps to occasional swish them around, and also to add a spoon of cornmeal to the water.
Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta.
You will need a large pot..I prefer a wide bottomed pot for cooking clams, this way they all cook at the same time.
For 2 people:
Best quality olive oil.
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Some hot red chili pepper, either whole or in flakes (omit if you don’t like them)
A small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
300-400 grams fresh tiny clams
A half a glass of dry white wine
200 grams spaghetti
In the wide bottomed pot add a couple of soup spoons of olive oil, turn on the heat to medium, then add the garlic, hot pepper if using and the parsley. quickly cook until the garlic is softened and releases that wonderful garlic scent. Do not brown the garlic..it becomes acrid when browned!
Put your spaghetti in to cook in the pot of boiling water….your pasta should cook while you cook the clams.
Add the drained washed clams and the wine to the olive oil garlic mixture. Turn up the heat to high, and toss the clams with a wooden spoon until they open. They will release their liquid which becomes the sauce. They are done as soon as they open. Do not cook anymore or they become tough.
Drain the spaghetti when done, add the clams and their liquid, toss and serve immediately.
Serve as a first course of a fish meal, or simply with a salad.