Now, except for my best friend who does not like any shell fish, I haven’t met anyone who could say no to vongole aka clams. Wow your loved ones or dinner guests with this simple yet delicious recipe! Italians prepare this dish two ways: bianco, i.e., with oil, garlic, parsley, and sometimes a splash of white wine; and in rosso, like the former but with tomatoes and fresh basil, the addition of tomatoes being more frequent in the south.
Cream and cheese are never added to this dish. The “creaminess” in this dish is called “emulsione” (emulsion in English), which comes from adding the pasta water and tossing the pasta well.
I like mine bianco (with more than a splash of white wine) so here’s a super easy peasy version that never fails. Oh, I usually buy my favorite bottle of white wine so I can finish.. I mean have a glass or two over dinner.
1 kg of any type of clams available in season
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
A bunch of Italian parsley, chopped
Your favorite spaghetti or linguine
2 cups of white wine
2 tbsp of butter
Salt & black pepper
Dried chilli flakes (optional)
Wash and scrub clams in a large bowl of salted water and refrigerate. The salt water will purge out the sand from the clams. Depending on how sandy the clams are, you might have to change the water if necessary.
If you do not have the time for this process, you can always use frozen cooked clams. The taste is just as great.
Bring to boil a large pot of water.
When the water is bubbling, add in 3 or 4 tsp of salt. Unless you want to have tasteless pasta, It is important to salt the water to get that natural briny taste. Read the cooking time on your pasta wrapper to gauge when the pasta is done. Tip: I love my pasta al dente so I usually remove a min before the cooking time stated on the wrapper as the pasta will continue to cook when you throw them into the sauce.
When the pasta are 2 mins before ETD, in a large pan, melt the butter and add in chilli flakes and garlic.
Once the aromatic smells are released from the garlic, add in the clams and white wine. Be sure to keep the heat at high. Cover the pan for 2 mins or until the clams are opened. Do not overcook the clams or you’ll end up with dehydrated clam meat.
At this point, you can choose to fish out the clams or just leave them inside while you add in the pasta.
Depending on how saucy you like your pasta, ladle in the appropriate amount of the pasta water. Remember to keep your heat high all these while and toss the pasta well.
Garnish with parsley and voila!