|Spaghetti alle Vongole|
above: with tomatoes; below: without
Spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti and clams) originated in Naples and is very popular throughout the surrounding Campania region in addition to Rome. Italians prepare this dish two ways: with tomatoes (in rosso) and without (in bianco).
The below recipe is based on the one found in the recipe book published by La Accademia Italiana della Cucina (The Academy of Italian Cuisine). It differs from the Academy's recipe only in that it includes clam broth and canned clams in addition to the traditional ingredients.
Cleaning and eating clamsEdit
This recipe calls for live clams. Here are some safety guidelines for buying, eating and cooking live clams.
- Never buy a clam that's open or cracked.
- Never eat a clam that won't open after cooking.
- Cook clams within 24 hours of purchasing.
- Always scrub clams clean before cooking.
For more info on this subject, read Happy as a clam by Chef Mark R. Vogel.
- 4 liters (1 gallon) water
- 450 grams (1 pound) dry spaghetti
- olive oil (See below for quantities.)
- 20 grams (3/4 ounces) garlic, minced
- 1 kilogram (2 pounds) live clams
- 225 grams (8 ounces) diced plum tomatoes (Use for in rosso. Omit for in bianco.)
- 225 grams (8 ounces) canned, shelled clams, thoroughly rinsed (optional)
- 120 milliliters (4 fluid ounces) bottled clam broth (optional)
- a handful of parsley, minced
- olive oil (See below for quantity.)
- salt to taste (See below for quantity.)
- Peperoncino or, less commonly, black pepper to taste
- Boil the water in a large pot with a tablespoon of salt.
- Add the spaghetti once the water starts boiling. Cook until the pasta is al dente. This should take 7-8 minutes.
- Pour olive oil into a large, wide pan so that it barely covers the bottom and heat the oil.
- Add the garlic, along with the peperoncino, and sauté until golden brown. This should take about a minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add the live clams and diced tomatoes.
- Put the lid on the pan and cook for about eight minutes. Shake the pan every minute or so to help the clams open. Throw out those that don't.
- Drain the spaghetti and put it in the pan with the live clams and tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low.
- Add the canned clams and clam broth to the pan.
- Season with salt (and pepper, if the peperoncino is not used) to taste and toss until the pasta is well coated with tomatoes and oil. Add another tablespoon of olive oil if you like.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
- Serve hot.
Resist the urge to add cheese. This recipe is intended as a light summer dish.