Linguine con vongole

Linguine con vongole

By
From
The Art Of The Larder
Serves
2
Photographer
Mike Lusmore

Verbatim. I am sure lemon and tomato feature well enough in other versions. Here, just clams cooked with olive oil, garlic, chilli and white wine, together with pasta, salt, parsley and more olive oil. This is vongole lore – no butter, no lemons, no extra anything – as cooked in Naples by the grandmother who, though she doesn’t know it, inspired me to cook.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g small clams, rinsed in cold water
350g linguine, or use spaghetti
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
3 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2-1 teaspoon chilli flakes, or finely chopped fresh chilli, to taste
100ml dry white wine, or use vermouth
a small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped

Method

  1. Wash the clams in plenty of cold water, discarding any that don’t close when tapped on a surface or that have cracked or broken shells.
  2. Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions, aiming for al dente, then drain, reserving a little of the pasta cooking water in case you should need it to loosen the finished pasta dish.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, put the olive oil into a large pan over a medium heat and add the garlic for 2 minutes, or until it is aromatic but does not brown. Add the chilli to the pan in the last 30 or so seconds of cooking time.
  4. Stir the clams and white wine into the garlic pan, then put a lid on the pan and turn up the heat. Cook until the clams open up. As they open, remove those quick to open in batches, reserving them in a bowl and continuing to cook any of the clams that are more stubborn. Continue until all the clams have cooked and released their juices into the saucepan. Discard any clams that refuse to open.
  5. Add the cooked drained spaghetti to the pan and return any clams that you’ve reserved. Toss well and leave for about 30 seconds to absorb any liquid. Add a little of the reserved pasta cooking liquid should you need it.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley. Season with additional salt, more chilli and a little more olive oil if necessary. Serve immediately.
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