Today’s recipe is one of my favourite pasta dishes! Back in Italy, I would make it regularly as I could easily find fresh vongole at the market. Finding them here in Sydney instead is not easy at all. And even when I find them, they are often frozen… So when I saw these at the markets, I bought them immediately and made this pasta for the whole family! It tasted amazing! I like my sauce with a few tomatoes, but this recipe is great even without them. There are quite a few recipes for Spaghetti with vongole on the web and I know the “traditional” way to prepare the sauce is by putting the closed vongole to open with garlic, oil and (sometimes) tomatoes… all at the same time. You can definitely do that, but I am going to share a little secret with you today. Clams often have a little sand inside, as they live at the bottom of the sea. When you open them together with what is going to be your sauce, you are very likely going to get some of that sand in your pasta. So how do we avoid that? Easy… we first open the vongole and then add them to the sauce. If you are afraid you are going to lose some flavour by doing that… fear not. I always add the juices that come out from the clams when I open them back into the sauce… no flavour lost! Try it and let me know! Here is MsM’s Spaghetti with Vongole!
- Rinse the vongole under cold water. Put them in a big bowl and cover them with cool water. Add 1 tbsp of salt to the water and stir. Keep the vongole in salty water for at least 2 hours (this will help get rid of some of the sand that may be still trapped inside the clams).
- Then put the vongole in a large frying pan, cover them with a lid and put them on a medium-high flame. Wait until they open. There is no need to add any water or oil at this stage.
- When the vongole have opened, remove them with a slotted spoon, and filter the juices that have come out into the pan. By doing this, you will remove all the sand and you won’t have any in your plate! Keep the juice aside and discard any unopened clams.
- Mince the garlic and sauté it with 5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil for 1 minute.
- Add the halved cherry tomatoes and cook them for a couple of minutes.
- Add the vongole and white wine. Let the alcohol evaporate, then add the filtered juice and mix well.
- Add the chopped parsley, mix, season with salt and pepper to taste and put the fire off. Your sauce needs to be a little runny, so do not panic!
- Cook the pasta following the steps on How to cook pasta “al dente” in the Techniques page of this site, but drain it 1 minute before it is cooked as it will finish cooking together with the sauce. Put the drained pasta in the frying pan with the sauce and mix it well while cooking it on a slow flame for 1 or 2 minutes.
- Serve immediately with more freshly ground pepper!