Fancy a bit of kitchen alchemy? Trans­form base in­gre­di­ents into some­thing truly glo­ri­ous with this clas­sic clam recipe.

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - FOOD, SAM MANNERING -

Do I dare say von­gole? Ev­ery time

I dare to take on a clas­sic, I get damn

near cru­ci­fied. Luck­ily, I revel in such


We need to be mak­ing more of clams in this

coun­try. I adore them. Sweet, but­tery, richly

re­ward­ing lit­tle beau­ties that are so worth the

slight ef­fort that it takes to dig them out of

their shells. I once watched with minute de­tail

a Vene­tian friend cook this hall­mark of Ital­ian

cui­sine, and so I’m hop­ing this is a faith­ful

mimic of such a beau­ti­ful, clas­sic dish.

I’m for­ever as­ton­ished about the sim­plic­ity.

No cream (ab­hor­rent, as most Ital­ians and

I reckon) – in fact, no dairy at all. Be lib­eral

with your use of olive oil. I think the real se­cret

to the suc­cess of this dish lies in un­der­cook­ing

your pasta so t it can be fin­ished off in the

gid­dy­ing sauce that you end up with from the

liq­uid from the clams, the wine, and the olive

oil. Noth­ing more. Amaz­ing.


Prep time: 5 mins, plus breath­ing time for clams

Cook time: 20 mins / Serves: 4-6

1kg fresh live clams, in the shell

400g spaghetti or lin­guine Olive oil

5 cloves of gar­lic, finely chopped

1 red chilli, de­seeded and finely chopped

1 cup dry white wine

Large hand­ful of flat leaf pars­ley, roughly chopped

Run the clams un­der cold run­ning wa­ter for a cou­ple of min­utes, then pop them in a bowl topped up with plenty of cold wa­ter and a ta­ble­spoon of salt. Leave to sit for 20

min­utes or so for the clams to breathe and ex­pel any re­main­ing sand.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boil­ing salted wa­ter un­til it is still a lit­tle un­der­done – a minute or so un­der the rec­om­mended cook­ing time on the packet. Drain and rinse. In a large pan, add sev­eral ta­ble­spoons of olive oil over a moder­ately high heat. Add the chopped gar­lic and fry quickly un­til fra­grant. Take spe­cial care not to let it darken. Add the chilli.

Rinse and drain the clams well and drop them into the pan. Pour over the white wine and cover the pan for two min­utes or so, un­til the clams start to open. Add a lit­tle more oil and fold in the drained pasta.

Con­tinue to cook un­til the clams are fully opened and the pasta has ab­sorbed some of the liq­uid and is al dente.

Taste and sea­son ac­cord­ingly. Throw over the pars­ley and serve im­me­di­ately.

If you’d like to sug­gest an in­gre­di­ent for Anna to in­ves­ti­gate, email her at

Styling and pho­tos: Sam Man­ner­ing

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