Spaghetti with clams was the dish to convince me that eating seafood with pasta did not have to mean eating a bad seafood marina pasta. It remains a favourite of mine, to this day, both for its flavour and its simplicity. Serve with either dried pasta, or make a batch fresh pasta if you have the time and company to share in the pasta making experience.
+ 1 kg clams (vongole), we use the vacuum sealed ones and frozen ones from the fish market when we can’t find them fresh
+ 3 tablespoons white wine
+ 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
+ 400 g spaghetti, or 4 portions of fresh spaghetti
+ 2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly squashed
+ 2 small red chillies, very finely sliced
+ 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Rinse the clams thoroughly under cold running water to remove any sand or grit from the shells. Meanwhile, put a large pot of salted water onto boil for your pasta.
Place your clams in a large frying pan over high heat with the white wine and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. As you cook them, they will start to pop open – this should take less than five minutes. As they are popping, stir them with a wooden spoon, removing them once open and putting them in a large bowl. Boil the remaining liquid in the pan until it has reduced by half, then strain it into another bowl. Set aside, and rinse your pan thoroughly to remove any sediment.
When the clams are cool enough to handle, take around half out of their shells and put them in the bowl with the strained liquid. Leave the other clams in their shells in the separate bowl.
Cook your spaghetti until al dente (if using dried pasta this is generally two minutes less than the suggested cooking time on the packet).
Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in the cleaned frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, chilli and 2 teaspoons of the parsley. Stir with a wooden spoon until the garlic is just golden, then remove and discard the garlic cloves. Add the shelled clams and most of their cooking liquid and simmer for 2 minutes.
Drain the spaghetti and add it to the frying pan. Sprinkle on the remaining parsley, then add the reserved clams in their shells and a little more of the cooking liquid if your dish seems too dry. Toss over low heat for about one minutes, to allow the flavours to mingle, before serving immediately.
Original recipe from The Art of Pasta.