Friday, April 20, 2007

Spaghetti alla Vongole

...or, linguini with clam sauce.
Forget about that $12 plate of overcooked noodles dripping with tomato-based sauce and a couple of canned clams floating about that may form your impression of linguini with clams. This dish is much lighter on the palate and very tasty. It's also a snap to prepare.

Here it is usually made with spaghetti rather than linguini. Today, though, I procured a nice helping of hand-cut linguini from pasta all'uovo shop and a nice sack of fresh baby clams at the pescheria. Dinner for less than 5 euro for 2 people!
It's easy to adjust for more servings, or smaller portions.

1/2 pound to 1 pound of fresh baby clams
1 clove garlic, minced
a dash or two of red chile flakes
1 cup white wine
a handful of parsley, minced
1/3 to 1/2 pound spaghetti or linguini

If the clams haven't already been cleaned you'll need to soak them in heavily-salted water for a couple of hours to clean out the grit. Drain and rinse them well.

In a pan large enough to hold the clams heat the olive oil and lightly saute the garlic, red chile flakes and about half the parsley until garlic begins to color. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the clams, cover, and cook until they open up, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the linguini or spaghetti until al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Add the clams and wine, drizzle on a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle in the parsley, tossing it all well. Serve.

*You can grate on some parmigiano if you want, but here in Italy that is strictly taboo. You may even be reprimanded for it as my step-dad was in a seafood restaurant in Nettuno!

Valerie Schneider 2007