Pasta con Le Vongole (Pasta with white clam sauce)


This is my favorite Italian recipe.  I don't know why its always the first thing I order upon my arrival in Italy.   I normally do not make this dish here in Mississippi as fresh clams are not available.    Recently, frozen clams from Goose Point, WA, showed up in the freezer section of our local supermarket.   I must admit, I was temporarily intrigued.  The skeptic that I am walked on by.   While I was standing in the check out line,  I realized that I just had to give them a try.   To my surpirse,  they were delicious.  Fresh and fragrant, I couldn't believe something so delicious came out of a freezer.   They are flash frozen when caught.   The incredible flavor reminded me of sitting at one of my favorite Trattoria's in Rome, Italy enjoying this dish.   Hard to believe here in Tupelo, MS,  this comes in a close second!

Ingredients for 6 people
2 packages baby clams ( goose point, little necks etc.),   (Butter discarded from package), approx. 2 pounds, Rinsed with some fresh water.  Pat dry with some paper towels and leave to drain in sink
4-5 cloves of garlic minced (Fresh, please do not use the jar variety)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup minced parsley plus scant handful for garnish
salt and pepper to taste.
Additional 2 tablespoons salt for your pasta water
1 pound spaghetti or linguine cooked just before al dente ( About 7 minutes)

Into a skillet, large enough to fit your pasta, warm your olive oil.  It should be almost hot to touch.   Carefully saute your garlic until fragrant.   Add your clams, quick saute.   Add 2 teaspoons of salt and pepper to taste.  Keep cooking for 5-7 minutes on medium-high.   At this point, lower your heat some, add your white wine.   Raise your heat back up to medium-high and let reduce by half.     Set aside. In the meantime put your water to boil.  Cook your spaghetti or linguine until just before al dente.   Drain  and place in your skillet and raise the heat again.  Your liquid remaining in your pan from your clams will help continue to cook your pasta along and  give it fantastic flavor.  Garnish with parsley  and serve.  Garnish your plates with additional Parsley and additional olive oil.

*Please note:  If you find these clams in your local freezer they are almost always pre-cooked.   Your clams will look partially opened.  They will continue to open while you are cooking this dish.   If you are using fresh,  which is ideal for this dish, place your lid on your pan immediately and let steam open your clams.  The clam shells will extract additional liquid while cooking.     After about 3-5 minutes, remove your lid,   Add your wine and continue to reduce.  Remove some of your empty  clam shells and  Add 2 teaspoons of salt, pepper to taste).   Keep reducing.  Follow directions above for serving.   Discard any un-opened clams~ Buon Appetito


Anonymous said…
Newlywed Cook said…
I'm going to have to try this next time I'm at my parents' in CA with access to fresh clams!

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