Fancy a bit of kitchen alchemy? Transform base ingredients into something truly glorious with this classic clam recipe.
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.
SPAGHETTI WITH CLAMS
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 email@example.com.
Styling and photos: Sam Mannering