Calories per portion 440
Ingredients (Serves 4)
2 tablespoon of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove of Garlic
Chili pepper (as liked)
Parsley stems and few leaves
400 g (14 oz.) of Clams
400 g (14 oz.) of Spaghetti or Thin Spaghetti
This is one of the easiest and tastiest dishes of Northern Italian cuisine. In the South they prepare seafood with tomato; it’s a matter of personal taste, but all I know is that after you try this white sauce you will never go back to the red one. The Vongola Verace is typical of the Mediterranean Sea (the best kind is around Venice in Chioggia) and I doubt it can be found elsewhere. I have been told that in US chefs use a type of clam from New Zeeland that seems to be the closest available impression of our vongola verace. We use thin spaghetti called ‘spaghettini’ for this preparation, but regular spaghetti o linguine work as well. One last piece of advice: do not attempt to prepare these kind of dishes for many people because even if you have large pans and a wide range, flavors would disappear, the food would steam instead of sauté and so on. Up to four / five it will be OK.
Normally the clams you find in the market should be already clean. The only important thing is that you have to make sure that each one of them is perfectly close. Clams that are slightly open, or have cracks and missing parts in the shell, should be discarded. Set a large pot with boiling water, add salt and start cooking the spaghetti. It will take from 7 to 12 minutes to have it cooked according to size and brand, so we will have plenty of time to prepare the sauce as well. Put 1 crushed clove of garlic (you can leave the skin on), a piece of chili pepper and few parsley stems into cold olive oil (similar to Aromatic Oil). When everything start to sizzle take out the garlic and drop in the clams. Keep the pan with no lid, this is an important step. Lots of people, chefs as well, make a big mistake covering the clams because doing so they open faster but all their liquid comes out loosing moist and structure (that technique is correct with muscles but not with clams). Move the clams around a bit and when they will all open, take them out with a skimmer and set them aside. Take out the stems also and let the liquid reduce a bit at low temperature, filter it through a strainer if necessary (taste it to check for the salt although vongole veraci do not require any). If you want you can take 2/3 of the clams out of their shells and leave the rest. Best way to do is using an empty clam as tongs to clean the others. When it takes 2 minute to cook the spaghetti ‘al dente’, drain it and place it into the reduced liquid. Sauté till moist than add the clams and serve with a sprig of parsley on top of each portion.