Spaghetti e Vongole
We did not have a rockin’ New Years this year, neither of us had any party in us after our move to the new place, my nine months of pregnancy and the fact that my husband was up at the crack of dawn to go to work on New Year’s eve. We decided instead to have a nice dinner at home, Italian style, with antipasto, primo e secondo. We brought out the good china, bought some beautiful cheeses at the health food market close to our new home, heated up a baguette and our antipasti were done. For our second course, we shoved a beer can up a chicken’s butt and roasted it for about an hour in the oven, delish! None of our courses actually went together, but we ate well none the less!
For our pasta course my husband made a beautiful pasta e vongole, the first time he has made this in the States. It was odd having to buy them not at weight, but telling the fishmonger how many we wanted. This confused both of us, but that’s how they do it here, I guess you can also point each clam out and say, no not that one, that one. The clams here are much larger than they are in Italy, so we only bought twelve, we could have probably bought double and would have been happier, though the pasta came out perfectly.
Though a really good pasta e vongole is in bianco, we decided to use the rest of the little heirloom tomatoes that we had in the pasta, adding color and a little more heft to it.
This is such a simple pasta to make, steaming the clams in a few tablespoons of olive oil, they release their juices during this process which is what gives this pasta such a unique flavor. Once they have opened, remove the clams from their shells, throw in a little parsley and you are done! The tomatoes that we added were barely cooked, which added a wonderful fruitiness to the dish.
Pasta e Vongole
- 12 clams in shells (though I would actually recommend buying a few more for two)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- a few sprigs of parsley, stems removed and chopped
- 6 or 7 cherry tomatoes, quartered (optional)
- 1/2 lb of spaghetti (this is a dish that can only be served with long pasta, it would just be wrong with penne)
Fill a large pot with water for the pasta. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Heat oil in a wide saucepan over medium-high heat and add the whole cloves of garlic. When garlic starts to sizzle add the clams and close tightly with the lid of the pan. Toss them in the olive oil and garlic for a few minutes until they have all opened. Once they have opened, lower the heat to low and remove the clams from their shells, being careful not to burn your little fingers.
Leaving the flame very low add the tomatoes and the parsley, tossing occasionally, but avoiding a simmer, you don’t want the clams to overcook.
Once the water starts to boil for the pasta add a small handful of salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. When the pasta is perfectly al dente, reserve a cup of the pasta water in case the pasta dries out when tossing it with the clams. Turn up the heat under the clams and drain the pasta. Without shaking all of the water out of the colander pour the pasta into the pan and toss it with the sauce. This allows for the pasta to cook a little longer in the sauce and to absorb the flavor. Add the reserve pasta water if needed.
One Year Ago: Panettone