This is absolutely one of my favorite Italian recipes. It really captures the essence of Italian cooking; a few prime ingredients, put together wisely to deliver amazing flavor.
For long time I thought it was impossible to find the right clams to make this in New York City. It took me a while before I could figure out where to find real vongole. And don’t even try to just call them clams, or use any other clam, because not all clams are created equal. The only acceptable ones are the Mediterranean Vongole Veraci (Venerupis Decussata) and their close cousins from the Philippines, Manila clams (Venerupis Philippinarum). They don’t always have them here in NYC, but when they do, I have to buy them. The other day I was near Eataly for work and decided to stop in quickly; I had someone coming over for dinner and wanted to make something amazing. I was in luck, they had Manila clams. One of the main reasons I never order this in restaurants is because I’m generally disappointed by the small amount of vongole on my plate. That’s why when I make it at home, I like to have lot of vongole. The following recipe is for 2 people. Make sure you have good bread (sourdough, please) to make scarpetta at the end. Ok, stop writing Ale, and start cooking!
- 1.5 kg (3lbs) Vongole Veraci or Manila clams
- Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Garlic (4 whole peeled cloves)
- Italian parsley, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
- Red hot chili pepper
- 230g Thick spaghetti (Tuscan Pici, Strangozzi, Strozzapreti, Pasta alla Chitarra)
Bring a large pot with salted water to a boil. Put the garlic and the oil in a large pan on low flame, letting the garlic get golden brown. Put the chili in the oil, and a handful of chopped parsley. Bring the flame to max and add the vongole to the pan. Cover with a large lid and lower the flame. At this point the water should be boiling. Throw the pasta in the water and cook to “al dente”. Let the vongole go for less than 10 minutes, the time it takes for them to open and for the pasta to cook. When ready, throw the pasta in the pan and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Toss the pasta and serve warm.