One of the most distinguished and uncomplicated delicacies from the gulf of Naples, spaghetti alle vongole is the king of all seafood pasta in my opinion. If food had special powers, a twist of these spaghetti would instantly beam you up and land you in a blissful seaside setting on the Italian riviera. Trust me though, even without special powers, that’s where your mind will be when you tuck into this simple seafood sensation.
I was over in Naples recently. As I walked out of the airport and jumped in a cab, it took all of 30 seconds before this dish was mentioned. The driver said: Have you eaten? Go to your hotel, dump your bags and head out for a nice lunch of spaghetti alle vongole by the sea. You’re in Naples my friend! Only in Italy would a taxi driver ask you if you’ve eaten, before he asks where he’s taking you… Also only in Naples would he then go on to charge you 1 euro per bag (including my small camera bag) so as to round the trip up from 14 to 20 euros…
Anyway, back to the recipe. Get yourself down to your local fishmonger and make a dash for the clams. You don’t need much else to whip this up, the second of three in my simple spaghetti series. Enjoy!
Serves 2. Prep time 5mins (excluding cleaning clams); cook time 15mins.
500g fresh ‘vongole’ clams, cleaned
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
100ml white wine
a bunch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
50ml extra virgin olive oil
First things first. Make sure you have cleaned (scrubbed and de-sanded) the clams. It’s pretty easy, but just takes time as the clams need to sit in tepid salty water for at least an hour. Once that time is up, make sure you throw away clams that produce lots of sand when tapped, opening down, on a work surface.
Bring a large pan of salty water to the boil.
Heat the olive oil in a flame proof casserole dish. Add the garlic and soften over a medium heat. Tip in the clams, white wine and half the chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper and give it all a good stir. Cover and turn up the heat.
Add the spaghetti to the boiling water.
After about 5 mins, pick up the casserole dish and, firmly keeping the lid on, give it a good shake just to make sure all the clams are cooking evenly.
When the pasta is just shy of al dente, drain holding back a little cooking water. Toss into the casserole dish with the clams and the remaining parsley. There should be plenty of sauce in the dish to finish cooking the spaghetti – if you feel there isn’t add a little pasta water. Keeping the heat high, eagerly stir the pasta for a minute to help finish its cooking and emulsify the sauce.
Plate up and you’re done! Turn on the tarantella 🎶 and tuck in.
Thanks for reading
Let me know what you think. What’s your king of seafood pasta?