Saturday, July 11, 2009

Spaghetti Vongole

My plan for dinner tonight was to cook some fish, but when I went down to my local fishmonger to choose something, I noticed that he had lovely fresh looking Vongole (Clams) in stock, so I decided to ditch the fish idea and to cook one of my all time favourite pasta dishes - Spaghetti Vongole. This dish is very fast to cook - pretty much as long as it takes to boil the pasta - and has a delicious flavour with few ingredients. I have eaten versions of Spaghetti Vongole that use cream in the sauce - I prefer to omit the cream and just use a little salted butter at the end. The dish is lighter and the butter and juices from the clams gives enough richness to the sauce for my taste. Of course, If you do enjoy something a bit richer, then by all means add some cream to your sauce.

This wonderful dish is not a cook ahead and reheat type of recipe - It is at it's best served right away, so have everyone at the table, ready to eat when you put the pasta on to boil. Even though it is very simple, I think this makes a really lovely dinner party dish if you are pressed for time. A few glasses of red wine, some crusty bread and a platter of fragrant and glistening Spaghetti Vongole and you have a perfect Italian meal that looks great.

Tonight's recipe serves two - buon appetito!!

Spaghetti Vongole

You will need: 500g Vongole (Clams) in the shell, A splash of olive oil, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon sliced chilli (more if you like it a bit spicy) 1 cup white wine (tonight I used a Hunter Valley Semillon), 1 tablespoon salted butter (you can use more or less, whatever suits your taste), A big handful chopped Italian parsley, spaghetti, salt and pepper. Parmesan to serve.

Method: Put your pasta water on to boil, ensuring that you add a good pinch of salt. Once it comes to the boil, add your spaghetti. Keep an eye on the pasta and give it a stir now and then. You want it to be al dente - not overcooked.

Now to the sauce - add a generous splash of olive oil to a pan and add the chilli and garlic. Let it cook for a minute or two - you do not want it to brown. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan. Let it come to a simmer. Add the clams and stir well. Put the lid on the pan and let the clams cook for about a minute. Be sure to disgard any that do not open.

Add the butter, then the drained, cooked pasta. Season well and stir through the parsley.
Serve right away with freshly grated parmesan.


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