Spaghetti alle Vongole (basically ‘spaghetti with clams’ in Italian) is one of my all time favourite seafood pasta, alongside with probably almost ALL seafood pastas out there to be honest. I cooked this up over the weekend but hadn’t found the time to upload it then, so here it is now. It is a dish that is highly popular throughout the central regions of Italy, including Rome, as well as further south in Campania. Italians prepare the dish in two ways:
- in bianco: with oil, garlic, parsley, and sometimes a splash of white wine; or
- in rosso: like the former but with tomatoes and fresh basil, the addition of tomatoes being more frequent in the south.
Cheese and cream are sometimes added to the dish in most Italian-American recipes. However, these ingredients are quite alien to the spirit of Italian cooking. In the true spirit of Italian cooking, cheese is never added to this dish, accentuating the simple flavours of the clams and of good quality olive oil.
PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 2-3
- 1kg NZ Westhaven Vongole
- 300g angel hair pasta
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
- 2 red bird’s eye chill, sliced
- 1 punnet (250g) cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup fish stock*
- 3/4 cup Chardonnay
- 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- Ground salt
*I would usually go for clam juice, but I couldn’t find any at the supermarkets.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the garlic and chillies in the olive oil until fragrant and the garlic is golden brown, about a minute. Then add the clams, fish stock, and wine. Cover and simmer over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally until all the clams open. Add in the cherry tomatoes and remove from the heat.
- While the clams are simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until al dente (read packet instructions, 4-5minutes for angel hair pasta). Drain the pasta and transfer to the saucepan and toss well with the clam sauce and parsley. Serve immediately.