Clams & Pasta

Fresh clams bought at the fist market this morning.

Every Monday is Physio day and so on Mondays I work from home so I can go and train like a crazy machine. I am getting a little frustrated about the whole broken leg everlasting episode. Never ever, I had thought that getting to a normal walking state would take so long…

I had never broke any bones before so my initial expectation was that I would be back on my two legs within weeks but it’s been 3 months now! Both the surgeon and the physio seems to say that I am actually recovering pretty quickly based on the injury I have but still … this feels way too long. Hopefully I will soon be able to walk without crutches!

Spaghetti vongole with fresh clams, cherry tomatoes & parsley cooked in white wine.

Luckily as for everything else in life there is always a white to the black and a good to the bad. And so Mondays are not only Physio day but also Market day – which sounds lot more fun, right?!

So on my way back home I stopped at the market to look at all the filled up stalls and found these little beauties which reminded me of my trip to Sardinia exactly a year from now. It was meant to be! I had to buy them and try to recreate that delicious pasta dish I once ate in a small Sardinian restaurant in Alghero.

All I had was a picture of the dish and my memories to recreate what the Italians calls ” Vongole Spaghetti”. It turned out great! After my first bite I was directly brought back to Alghero’s little historic town, gorgeous little beaches and lovely inhabitant. I love Italy!

Spaghetti vongole with fresh clams, cherry tomatoes & parsley cooked in white wine.

Delicious Spaghetti Vongole with fresh clams, cherry tomatoes, parsley & loads of garlic cooked in white wine:

Serves 2
Cooking time: 30mins

Ingredients:

– 1kg small clams
– 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley
– 2 large cloves of garlic
– 6 cherry tomatoes
– 250ml white wine (preferably Vermentino)
– 200gr dried spaghetti
– sea salt & black pepper
– extra virgin olive oil
– small pinch of chilli flakes

Method:

First prepare you clams by giving them a good wash in plenty of very salty water, this will help the clams release any sand they might retain. Then scrub any dirty shells lightly with a scrubbing brush, pulling off any beardy bits you might find on them.

Finely slice the parsley stalks, then put them to one side and roughly chop the leaves. Peel and chop the garlic and quarter the tomatoes.

Put a large pan of water on to boil, add 2tbsp of salt to it. While that’s happening, sort through your cleaned clams and if there are any that aren’t tightly closed, give them a sharp tap. If they don’t close, throw them away. Put a large pan with a lid on a high heat and let it heat up.

Once the water is boiling add the pasta to the pan and cook according to packet instructions until al dente. About 5 minutes before your pasta is ready, get ready to start cooking – you’ll have to be quick because the key to a fantastic dish of clams is not being tempted to overcook them. Keep them plump, juicy and fresh. As soon as the shells have opened, you will need to turn off the heat.

Put 2tbsps of extra virgin olive oil into the hot pan and add the garlic, parsley stalks and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add in the chilli flakes and add the chopped tomatoes. Stir everything around constantly and just as the garlic starts to colour, add in the clams and pour in the wine. Give everything a good stir and put the lid on the pan.After about 3 or 4 minutes the clams will start to open, so keep shuffling the pan around until all of them have opened. Take the pan off the heat. Get rid of any clams that haven’t opened.

By now your pasta should be ready. Drain and add to the pan of clams along with the parsley leaves and an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Stir for a minute or two to let the beautiful juices from the clams be absorbed into the pasta. Serve right away.

Wine recommendation:

In my book, the answer is simple: a young, unoaked, Italian white wine. A Vermentino or Pinot Grigio would do the trick but make sure it’s the classic Italian style.

The Dutch boyfriend’s opinion:

I am definitively not a fan of seafood. Fish is okay and herring is even delicious. But oysters, clams and other moving things on my plate could just, well, keep moving. The clams dish was pretty okay I guess, but not a hit to me. Plus I have to say it is very difficult to eat with all the shells in your plate…

Rating: 6,5/10

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24 thoughts on “Clams & Pasta

  1. I’m afraid the Dutch boyfriend is going to have to up his game. The dish looks delicious. Good for you. By the way, did you know that you can tell cultivated clams from wild ones? The cultivated ones have the “radio frequency” pattern on the shells. Wild ones are much more mottled and irregular. Ken

    • Thanks Ken. I loved the dish, it was exactly what I remembered of Italy so it doesn’t bother me really – it’s part of the game and what makes me keep challenging him 🙂 His got still a lot to learn but we’re getting there step by step.

    • Boys! I used to do the same and only eat the dishes I love when going out. But you know what? I have decided to change that, I am the one who cooks so I can allow myself a little guilty pleasure now and then – especially when I find clams at the fish market 😉

      • Lucky you! I am still hoping to get Dennis change his mind about seafood. And I have to say he really is trying, everytime we go to France he tries Oysters and mussels again and again. It’s going to take some time but I will keep challenging him until we get there 😉

  2. We had an almost identical dish in Narbonne two days ago. We bought the clams from a pier-side stall, who stored them in seawater, and cooked them within a couple of hours. We had it with a Riesling. Delicious.

  3. oh yum Raphaelle I am definitely going to try this- My absolute favourite dish when I go to Italy is spaghetti and clams- and I love it even from those big tourist restaurants. So this home cooked version I know will be awsome, I didn’t know this dish would be that easy!

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