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Spaghetti Vongole

Spaghetti with clams

From The Art of Pasta. (Reprinted July 2018)

Lucio Galletto OAM & David Dale.

This version has no tomato (“in bianco” means “in white”), and is the way most Italians prefer to eat their vongole, so the flavour is clear and pure. Remember that you do not add salt at any point.

Let the sea speak for itself.

1 kg vongole
100ml extra virgin olive oil
60 ml white wine
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 small red chillies sliced very fine
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
400g spaghetti

Wash the vongole well under cold running water, in case there is any sand or grit in the grooves of their shells. Place them in a large pan over high heat with the white wine and 20 ml olive oil and let them pop open. This should take less than 5 minutes. As they are popping, stir them round with a wooden spoon.

As soon as they start to open, lift the opened vongole out with a slotted spoon and put them in a large bowl. Once all have opened and been removed from the pan, boil the liquid remaining in the pan until it has reduced to half, and then strain it into another bowl through a fine sieve (to remove any grit) and set aside.

When the vongole are cool enough to handle, take most of them out of their shells and put them in the bowl with the strained liquid. Leave some in their shells to decorate the plates later.

Start cooking the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water. While it is cooking, put the remaining olive oil in the frying pan over medium heat, and add the garlic, the chilli and half a tablespoon of parsley. Stir with a wooden spoon. When the garlic starts to change colour, discard it.

Add the vongole and most of the water they are sitting in and sauté gently for 2 minutes.

Drain the spaghetti when it is al dente (2 minutes less than the cooking time on the packet) and add it to the pan with the vongole. Sprinkle on the remaining parsley and more of the reserved cooking liquid if it seems dry.

Toss for about 1 minute to mingle the flavours.
Serve steaming.

Download pdf of recipe here

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