Hello, young Padawan
Today, we are going to cook “pasta alle vongole.” Pasta with clams, indeed, but with the Italian accent, it’s always more Bellissimo!
Since the weather lends itself to it, namely rainy and cold, I decided that I was going to give you one more little recipe, a simple and effective one, and believe me, even if you do know as much about cooking as you do about nuclear physics, with this recipe, you will succeed. Yes, sometimes, not to say often, it’s the simplest things that are the best.
Also, we will learn to adapt. Indeed, if you have noticed, these are not “vongole” in the pics but cockles. My fishmonger didn’t have any; I mean, he had forgotten to put my order aside. But it doesn’t matter because it was just as good!
Come on, Andiamo, to Napoli, we go!
The “pasta alle vongole”, à la Chill.
For two servings
5,3 oz of good quality spaghetti (I use the “Rummo”)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 red pepper (or two pinches of Espelette pepper, if you can’t find one)
1/2 cup of white wine
18 oz of “lupine” or “lupini” clams (…or cockles!)
1/4 bunch of parsley
In a large bowl, soak the clams to rinse them, stir, and rinse two to three times so that all the sand disappears and falls to the bottom. Drain them quickly and keep them cool. A little water should be left in the bottom of the salad bowl with the clams.
Separate the parsley leaves from their stems (leave them whole, we will use them later) and finely mince the leaves. Peel and slice the shallots.
Precook the spaghetti in a large volume of boiling water, i.e., two minutes less than the recommended cooking time for al dente cooking. Keep a small bowl of cooking water, the equivalent of 1/2 cup, when draining them. Set them on a plate, covered.
In a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil, squeeze the previously peeled garlic, and add the shallots and the parsley stalks (break once or twice to take out the taste before placing them in the wok), then the wine.
After two minutes of cooking, add the clams and cover. Allow the clams to open slowly and stop cooking when they are all open.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the clams to a plate. Slowly pour the clam cooking juice into a bowl, stopping when you see a few grains of sand. Discard the parsley stalks, rinse or wipe out the wok, and return it to the heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Cut the pepper into quarters, pour the pieces into the hot wok over medium heat, let them simmer for a minute, and add the cooking juices from the clams and the pasta.
Saute the spaghetti for about a minute with the cooking juice from the clams, until the starch from the pasta thickens the sauce. To do it, nothing could be simpler, it’s a bit like with french crêpes, except that there is no concept of height since the goal is to mix, not turn. The movement to repeat as quickly as possible: a sharp and effective flick of the wrist, to stir the pasta, above your hob, off the heat, and you return to the heat from time to time.
If you don’t feel like sautéing them in a wok like the Italian (or French) chefs, don’t panic, take your best wooden spoon and stir in all directions. In a round, in eight, just move the spoon without damaging the spaghetti. I tried, and it works, too. Beginner-friendly, we said! With this method, just remember to put the pan out of the heat and come back warm from time to time.
Halfway through, add the parsley and clams (additional difficulty, lol), continue emulsifying (sautéing the pasta, or stirring it), then stop when the sauce has thickened thanks to the starch of the pasta. .. and thanks to your awesome wrist flick, I bet you didn’t even get any everywhere. Or almost, but don’t worry, we didn’t see anything, the feat was so captivating.
Note: If necessary, and if necessary only (that is to say if your pasta has sautéed too much and it has become a little sticky): add a little pasta cooking water.
In your best soup plates or pasta plates, pour the pasta alle vongole in the way of your choice. From the little nests made with a fork or with spaghetti tongs, the main thing is that everyone has enough vongole and juice on their plate because this recipe is so good that no one will want to be shortchanged, lol.
Serve with a good Italian or French dry white wine, or the excellent beverage you choice. Mine will go for white burgundy, chardonnay type.
Little tip: This recipe can be prepared in one go for a maximum of four people. Beyond that, the elbow grease needed to sauté the pasta and the stewardship to manage the cooking of the clams in your bowl will be beyond traditional household capabilities. So, you will have to do it in several batches, with a keeping warm system, or choose another recipe and only keep this one for small groups.
There you go, all you have to do is enjoy yourself, and I’ll see you next Thursday!