Spaghetti with Clams and Tomato Spaghetti alle vongole e pomodorini. My eldest daughter was disappointed this week when due to thunderstorms and fog her school trip to Rome was cancelled. We had been learning Italian together ahead of her trip which seemed to be mostly about food and animals. As a result of disappointment, I have pulled out the stops this week serving Lasagne, Pizza and today’s recipe, one of my favourites. I know the purists amongst you will be aware the dish comes from Napoli but I’m trying.
My Spaghetti with Clams and Tomato
Traditionally there are two ways of serving Spaghetti with Clams, Bianco, the clams simply served in a sauce of their own juices white wine and olive oil. Simply flavoured with garlic, chilli pepper, and parsley. I prefer, Rosso, with the added flavour and sweetness of a little fresh, ripe tomato. I use a couple of large spoons of tomato concasse. This is really easy to make and doesn’t overpower the dish. My recipe uses spaghetti, but you can use vermicelli or linguine as alternatives.
How to prepare Clams
To prepare your clams first give each shell a scrub and place in a deep container. Soak for half an hour in some salted water to get rid of any grit or sand. Then replace with fresh water and soak for another half an hour. Throw away any with cracked or broken shells. Give any open clams a quick squeeze, if they do not close immediately, throw them away. They are dead and shouldnot to be eaten and may be poisonous. If you intend to cook later that day, store in a plastic container. Keep in the bottom of your refrigerator covered with a damp tea towel.
Food and Drink Pairing
I would pick an Italian white wine like a dry, fruit forward Soave Classico. A crisp and refreshing Gavi made from the Cortese grape and the citrus, green apple flavours of Italian Pinot Grigio will all pair excellently with this dish. For beer a cool Continental style lager or a Saison style bottle conditioned beer will pair perfectly.
Spaghetti with Clams and Tomato
- large pan with lid
- Large heavy-bottomed frying pan with lid
- 1 kg small Clams
- 300 gr dried Spaghetti
- 2 large ripe Beef Tomatoes
- 1 large Banana Shallot peeled and very finely diced
- 4 large cloves Garlic peeled and very finely sliced
- 1 long Red Chilli finely sliced ( optional )
- A glass Italian White Wine around 150ml
- 100 ml extra virgin Olive Oil
- 1 handful fresh Flat Leaf Parsley washed, dried, and chopped
- A generous pinch Caster Sugar
- Sea salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
- Clean the clams and prepare the tomatoes. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
- Cook the spaghetti as per the instructions on the packet until tender and just offering a little resistance to biting or ‘ al dente ‘.
- While the spaghetti is cooking heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan. Carefully cook the shallot without colouring then add the garlic and chilli. Stirring constantly cook for a couple more minutes over a gentle heat so the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Add the wine and increase the heat and reduce by half. Add the tomato, sugar, and clams and cover with a lid.
- Cook for a couple of minutes and add half of the chopped parsley and recover. Give the pan a good shake and cook for a couple more minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat and take of the lid. Using a pair of tongues pick through the clams and discard any unopened ones. Season generously with sea salt and black pepper.
- Drain the pasta in a colander and return to the pan. Pour over the cooked clam mixture and the remaining parsley and toss together with the tongues. When all of the pasta is coated in sauce transfer to bowls and serve.
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