Spaghetti alle Vongole
This recipe really came from my love of seafood. In the Italian culture we eat a lot of seafood. Christmas eve is always filled with Clams, mussels, octopus, calamari and other fruits of the sea (Frutti di mare). I personally love this basic Italian dish. When going into a new Italian restaurant I always order Linguine o spaghetti alle Vongole to see how well it’s made. Now, let me say that this is a very basic dish that just requires some practice ( like everything ) and skill. After you practice it a couple of times you’ll get it down and be able to build on this adding your own flavors or just adding it to your bag of tricks. - Warner
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All ingredients will be listed with the preferred type in bold.
Clams ( Little neck or medium neck )
You could get other razor clams too. would avoid the large ones because they require a different cleaning technique in my opinion)
Spaghetti or Linguine
This doesn’t matter. I am using Spaghetti because my mom gave me a big bag that she was given from a restaurant. Linguine is flatter and soaks in some more of the sauce but both will work. Don’t go running all over the city to find linguine if you have a bunch of Spaghetti laying around.
Olive Oil ( Extra virgin, virgin )
Salt (sea salt, pink salt, or just regular salt)
Fresh Italian Parsley (flat leaf if available or dried if fresh not available)
Ok, you know this could take up a full page but I’ll make this short. It is important to pair this dish with a wine that won’t overpower the flavors and that will balance. If this were a different preparation then the recommendations would be different. Remember to know what is in the food you are pairing and make a decision based on that!
Dry white wines such as Pinot Grigio, Vermentino or even the VIN312 2019 Touché Rosé. ( Notice how I’m specifying the 2019. This is a lighter, drier and crispier rosé. The 2016 Touché rose wouldn’t have been my recommendation. NOTE: I have never added the rose to the actual dish. I would be very interested in seeing what the light pink color would do. If it drops out then it could work but otherwise I would just drink it along with the dish and use another white option for the cooking.
Here are the steps I do. I’ll try to make it as simple and short as possible!
- Cleaning seafood
Rinse clams and scrub any barnacles off of them. Clams usually don’t have these but if they do then get them off. Rinse in cold to lukewarm water. This will get any sand off of them and get them ready. I put them into a strainer and let water run over them.
- Soak the clams
This is important. If you have water from the sea (ie. Go to the sea, get a reused bottle of water and bring it home) you can fill a pot up with this water and put the clams in it. If you don’t have this water then just use lukewarm water with some added salt. Leave sit for 20 - 30 minutes. You can also do this overnight in the fridge. This allows the clams to open up and release all the sand inside of them. If you don’t do this then you will have grit in your dish!
- Boil Water
Get a tall pot if possible and fill half way with water. Bring to a boil. You don’t need the water to cover the length of the pasta. Only fill about half way. The pasta will bend as you stir it. Make sure to add enough salt to the water. At least 1/4 of a cup.
- Prepare other ingredients
Chop the Parsley
Chop Garlic cloves into small cubes ( like 1/16 ). Don’t mince. This is so you don’t burn the garlic. OR, You can also smash the whole clove gently and use that.
- Heat oil (1/4 cup or more to coat the bottom of the pot) in a pot that can take a lid. Add garlic right away. Let the garlic brown and not burn for about 2-3 minutes
- Add the clams directly to this pot. Leave them covered on medium to high for 5 minutes.
- Add parsley on top of the clams until aroma is released.
- Add spaghetti to water. Make sure to stir right away so pasta doesn’t stick.
- Add white wine, red pepper flakes, a little salt and pepper. Now,,, you can can up to a whole glass! Let the alcohol burn off then lower flame to medium and keep covered. This will allow the clams to open. 5 - 10 minutes
- (Optional) I like to add a little chopped tomatoes (roma de-seeded or cherry cut in half. You can even put some canned whole alta cucina tomatoes in!
- Stir with a wooden spoon - cover again until most of the clams are open. - 5 more minutes. (Note: throw away any that aren’t fully open)
- Once spaghetti is al-dente ( see videos ). Remove clams from pot and set aside. Add Spaghetti to clam sauce and stir to incorporate. Then, add 1 - 2 ladles of pasta water to sauce. Stir well.
- Salt and Pepper to taste ( probably won’t need salt because of water )
- Serve with clams and a little grated parmigiano cheese and wine!
I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you have any questions about it or need help please don’t hesitate to call, email, DM me! - Salute!