I am back (and your recipe wishes come true)!
|August 17, 2010||Posted by ameliaps under Italian, pasta and grains, seafood, shellfish, summer|
Hello everyone: I am back!
Thank you for your patience while I was gone on vacation: I was in Italy visiting my family. We were on a sailboat navigating the Pontine islands (a wonderful well kept secret).
While I was gone I became a featured FoodBuzz publisher (see badge on the right) and I was mentioned in the Food News Journal (in “best of the blogs”).
I read your recipe requests and since there are not many I want to make everyone happy
I will make them all in the following order, on my next blog posts:
- For Denise: spaghetti con vongole
- For Tea and Taro: mini summer quiches with zucchini, tomatoes, pesto and ricotta
- For Robin: dorade with a lavender-lemon cream sauce, served with quick pan-sautéed ratatouille
Let’s start with Denise’s request for one of my favorite summer dishes, one that speaks of sea side adventures in the Mediterranean: spaghetti con vongole.
While I was in Italy I cooked a lot with my father (yes, even in the tight quarters of the sailboat) and made sure to prepare spaghetti with vongole with local small clams and fresh parsley. In Italy we call the small clams ”vongole veraci”. Some of the variations you might see in this recipe is adding some lemon: juice or grated zest… if the clams are fresh, you don’t need this. In other places they might add some fried or toasted bread crumbs…again, I think that takes away from the fresh, sea flavor. Another version adds cherry tomatoes to give the dish a red hue and added flavor.
Spaghetti con vongole
2 pounds littleneck or cherrystone clams, scrubbed and rinsed well
1 pound spaghetti (or linguine)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 or 2 (depends on “heat”) fresh hot red chili peppers, cut in slices (or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes)
3/4 cup dry white wine, preferably Italian (Pinot Grigio works well)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped
Place the clams into a large bowl and leave in cold water (better if sea water from the Mediterranean!) for about 20 minutes, rinsing and replenishing the water 2-3 times to remove the grit from the shells.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook VERY al dente (~6-7 minutes): don’t worry, they’re not done yet… Drain reserving some of the boiling water.
Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan on high heat. Place the clams in the pan and cover with a lid. Cook for ~4-5 minutes, or until all the shells have opened. Discard all unopened clams.
Heat another large saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil, garlic and chili pepper. Saute for a couple of minutes until garlic is golden. Remove the garlic.
Add a couple spoonfuls of broth from the juice of the clams to the pan and the white wine and reduce for a couple of minutes. Now add the drained spaghetti and the chopped parsley then toss.
Turn up the heat, add the drained clams, and season with salt and pepper. Toss well. Add some of the reserved pasta water, if needed. Serve hot.