|Spaghetti alle Vongole
(Spaghetti with Clams)
Preparation: Medium difficulty
Serves: 4-6 people
Spaghetti alle Vongole with clam sauce is a mainstay of trattorias and restaurants in Naples and Rome, and is prepared in rosso or in bianco, with or without tomatoes.
• 1 lb spaghetti, spaghettini or linguini;
• 2 lbs clams in their shell (the smallest you can get), steamers seem to work quite well;
• 1 14 oz can plum tomatoes, finely chopped;
• 1/3 Cup Good Quality Olive Oil;
• 4 (or more) cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped;
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper;
• 1/2 Cup Freshly Chopped Parsley;
• 1 Small Red Chile, Or Red Pepper Flakes To taste;
In a large pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, sauté till golden.
Add the tomato and most of the parsley, simmer, stirring occasionally.
Cook till sauce thickens, 10 to 15 minutes.
Salt and pepper to taste.
When sauce is ready add the unshelled clams and raise the heat to high. Continue cooking, shaking the pan occasionally to keep sauce from sticking or burning. Cook till shells are open, anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Discard any that remain closed.
For shelled clams, add the clams, along with their liquid to the cooked and ready sauce for a 2 or 3 minutes, just so they heat, otherwise they will turn tough and rubbery if cooked too long. Meanwhile cook the pasta and when ready, drain into a warm bowl.
Pour sauce, clams and all over the pasta and toss well. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley.
Add a little piece of hot chili pepper or some red chili flakes together with the garlic.
Try to find small, fresh clams to use in this recipe such as littleneck. Since some clams can be sandy, it is a good precaution to soak them in cool water for up to an hour before using. If you choose, remove most of the clams from their shells, reserving a few for each plate as a garnish.