If you’re a fan of pasta, seafood and wine then Clam Vongole has to be a dish in your repertoire. It’s quite possibly my favourite thing to eat, in. the. world.
You need really fresh clams which can be bought so easily online and in a good fishmongers but other than that it’s store cupboard ingredients. The best Vongole I have had was in Rome but this version can compete on any given day. Traditionalists would opt to swerve the addition of tomatoes as it’s not authentic but they give the dish more body and a tangy extra dimension for me.
200g dried linguine
500g fresh clams
150g cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley stalks
250ml white wine
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves
1/2 a fresh lemon
3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
In advance place the clams into a bowl and cover them with cold water. Discard any open clams that don’t close when tapped. Soak the clams for an hour to remove any grit then lift them from the water with a slotted spoon (if you drain them in a colander the grit will fall back over the clams so be sure to lift them from the water).
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions.
About 5 minutes before the pasta is cooked make the sauce. You’ll need to work fast now as this really is a quickfire dish that’s all about timing. Grab a large lidded saute pan and place it over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic, dried and fresh chilli and parsley stalks to the oil and gently infuse with the oil, add the tomatoes and soften for a minute or two stirring often, then chuck in the clams and the white wine. Pop the lid on immediately and shuffle the pan for 3-4 minutes or so, remove the lid and check the clams are all open. Remove the pan from the heat and discard any closed clams. Add a small ladel of the now starchy pasta water to the pan, mix well and then drain the pasta and add to the pan. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, the chopped parsley a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a good crack of black pepper. Toss the pan for a minute or two to combine the pasta, clams and all the lovely juices.
Pile into bowls and kick back.