Spaghetti with clams or Spaghetti alle vongole. This classic Italian dish is prepared all over Italy and in Italian restaurants and communities all over the world.
The most popular type of pasta served with clams’ sauce is linguine, little tongues, which are flat and narrow noodles the size of spaghetti.
In Palermo, the spaghetti is the preferred type of pasta to pair with clams’ sauce. In the following recipe, you will notice that the pasta with the clam sauce is served without the shells, with the exception of a few for garnish, also that the clams are cut into pieces, and sautéed with the pasta.
This is the essence of making a delicious pasta with clams with the taste of the sea, complemented by the pale scent of wine, the hearty flavor of garlic, the fruity flavor of olive oil and the peppery taste of parsley.
SERVING: Yield 4 servings
- 1 lb. linguine or spaghetti pasta
- 3 doz. littleneck clams or 2 doz. cherrystone scrubbed and rinsed
- ½ cup of white wine
- 1 clove of crushed garlic
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 5 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic pressed or finely chopped
- ½ cup of parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper
- crushed red pepper served on the side
- parsley sprigs to garnish
- olive oil to finish
- Buy fresh clams, tightly closed, with the shells whole and without chips.
- Place in an open container and keep in the refrigerator.
- To prepare the sauce, scrub and rinse the clams and soak in cold for at least 1 hour, to eliminate any sand.
- Remove clams from the water, put in a strainer and rinse again.
- In a large sauté pan, over a medium heat, place one tablespoon of oil and the crushed garlic and with a wooden spoon squeeze the garlic into the oil to release its flavor.
- When garlic is light golden discard; place the clams and the wine into the pot.
- Cover and steam for 2-3 minutes, continuously checking for open clams: remove them with a slotted long-handled spoon and set on the side.
- After 10 minutes discard any unopened clams.
- Remove the mollusks from shells, reserve and filter the cooking liquid with cheesecloth to eliminate any sand and chop the clams into quarters.
- Reserve a few clams in the shell for garnishing.
- If the fresh clams are shucked, get their juice and briefly sauté the clams in garlic, oil and a few tablespoons of wine.
- In a large sauté pan, over a medium heat, place the oil with the pressed garlic and cook until the garlic is a light brown.
- Add the cooking liquid and sauté for 3 minute, stirring occasionally.
- Add half of the chopped parsley, a pinch of crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and set aside.
- Boil 5 quarts of water with 2 tablespoons of salt, and cook pasta al dente, following the directions on the package.
- Warm the sauce on a medium heat. Drain pasta and reserve some of the cooking water.
- Return the pasta to the pot add the sauce, remaining parsley and the chopped clams; toss over a high flame to blend the sauce, the clams and the linguine.
- If pasta gets too dry add some of the reserved liquid.
- Remove from the flame and serve immediately.
- Garnish each plate with a parsley sprig, drizzle with a few drops of olive oil, top with a few clams in the shell and serve with crushed red pepper on the side.
5. Note: To make pasta with red clam sauce, follow the above direction except in the preparation of the sauce (given below).
The Red Clam Sauce:
- In a large sauté pan, over a medium heat, place the oil with the pressed garlic and cook until garlic is a light brown.
- Add 6 medium size tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped and simmer for 5 minute, stirring occasionally (or use a 16 oz. can of imported Italian peeled tomato).
- Add the cooking liquid and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
- Then add half of the chopped parsley, a pinch of crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to a boil, remove from heat and set aside.
Also Read: SPAGHETTI WITH AMATRICIANA SAUCE