I LOVE vongole, such simple flavours but so satisfying. I used to have a set recipe that I used, but after reading Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, I made a few changes to my method and it definitely added a little something. I actually tend to use tagliatelle for this, but spaghetti is traditional, or linguine works too, whatever long shape you’ve got in the cupboard!
I got my clams from Wilson’s Catch of the Day in the west end of Glasgow. They were ready to use, just needed a quick rinse in cold water and they were good to go! The pangrattato (Italian breadcrumbs) adds a lovely crunch to the dish, so don’t skip it!
Ingredients (serves two)
2 tbsp olive oil
25g panko breadcrumbs
1 shallot, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
Half a tsp chilli flakes
100ml white wine
500g fresh clams, cleaned and debearded
Few springs fresh parsley
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1. First, put a pot of salted water on to boil. Then, heat half of the oil in a non-stick pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the breadcrumbs and cook for a few minutes until golden. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. Once cooled, put in a bowl, add the zest from your lemon, stir to combine and set aside.
2. Put your pasta into the salted water and cook according to packet instructions. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, add the wine, the ends of your shallot, the salts from the fresh parsley (not the leaves, save those) and the clams. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes until the clams start to open. As soon as they open, remove them with tongs or a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Strain the cooking liquid and keep it!
3. To the same pan, add the remaining oil, add the finely chopped shallot and cook for a few minutes until soft. Add the garlic, chilli and a pinch of salt and cook for another minute. Add the reserved clam cooking liquid to the pan, followed by the cooked pasta the cooked clams and squeeze over the juice of the lemon. Finally, add the butter and the chopped parsley leaves. Stir until the butter melts and add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Pile into bowls, sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and serve with some chilled white wine!