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Spaghetti alle vongole recipe: the best idea to cook clams!

The recipe for spaghetti alle vongole pleases all Italians 

Italian cuisine is as rich as it is varied but one of his signature is spaghetti alle vongole recipe (spaghetti with clams). There are typical dishes spread throughout Italy, each region has developed its own way of preparing them over the centuries. There is a Neapolitan pizza, a Roman one, an Apulian one and a Genoese one and many other types; there is a Bolognese ragu and a Neapolitan ragu, but also an Apulian ragu and a Calabrian one. The Italian regions are many and often different from each other in terms of the quality of the territory (mountains, hills and plains) and typical ingredients. For example, in the south extra virgin olive oil is used almost exclusively in cooking, while in the north and especially in the Alps, butter is often predominant. However, there is a geographical and cultural aspect that unites almost all Italian regions: the presence of the sea. The Mediterranean sea unites and connects the gastronomic cultures of 15 out of 20 regions. The fished marine species are widespread and consumed in almost the same way in all the cuisines of these regions, except for small differences. However, if we have to think of an ingredient that is almost always used in the same way, it is the clam. The spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams) recipe is sacred, almost untouchable, a popular Italian recipe and certainly one of the best Italian recipes. In its simplicity and thanks to the few ingredients used it is almost a secular prayer of thanks towards this extraordinary ingredient.

The ingredients of the spaghetti alle vongole recipe

The ingredients for a perfect spaghetti alle vongole recipe for 4 people are few and very simple:

  • Spaghetti (450 gr);
  • Fresh, live clams (1 kg – 1.5 kg);
  • Extra virgin olive oil (6 tablespoons);
  • Garlic (1 clove);
  • Dry white wine (half a glass, 50 ml);
  • Chili pepper (as needed);
  • Salt (as needed);
  • Parsley (as needed);
  • Cherry tomatoes (5-6 optional);
  • Pepper (optional as needed).

As you can see, the ingredients are few and very simple. Apart from the clams which must be purchased the same day you intend to prepare them, all the other ingredients are usually already found in the food storage of every kitchen.

The preparation is also extremely simple, although there is a fundamental step that must be respected before cooking: the selection and purging of the clams, because if this step is not carried out well, you risk having to throw away everything you have prepared. In fact, clams should always be purchased alive, in sealed nets found in fishmongers, making sure they are alive and fresh.

A tip: for convenience you can also buy them still alive but already purged from the fish shop (they are found immersed in water), but these are usually less tasty. Once they arrive home, they should be kept in the refrigerator until you decide to use them. So, let’s see what the preparation procedures are for this popular Italian recipe, one of the best Italian recipes.

Preparing the spaghetti alle vongole recipe 

Are you ready to try the spaghetti with clams recipe? We assure you that the result will be exceptional!

  1. About two hours before cooking the spaghetti with clams, they should be selected one by one, discarding both the empty ones and the suspect shells which may be full of sand and mud.
  2. The selected ones should be rinsed and immersed for 30 minutes in a large bowl containing water at room temperature and salt (about 30 gr. of dissolved salt for every liter of water); in this way the live clams will open and begin to purge the residues of sand and other impurities that they had stored in the shells.
  3. As they open, they should be moved to another bowl with clean water and salt. Those that do not open and are suspect should be eliminated, or opened on the heat in a separate pan until they open; if they don’t open even that way, it means they are dead or empty and should be discarded.
  4. Once the selection is complete, pour the extra virgin olive oil into a very large pan and heat the garlic, chilli pepper and parsley stems; once they have released their scent, remove the garlic and parsley.
  5. Drain the clams and pour them into the pan, also add the white wine;
  6. At this point you can also add the cherry tomatoes and chopped black pepper (if you like them).
  7. Cover with the lid and wait until all the clams have opened (3-5 minutes); if necessary, stir with a spoon; then turn off the flame.
  8. In the meantime, bring 4 liters of water to the boil in a pot, add the salt and pour in the spaghetti; the spaghetti should remain very al dente, so they should cook about 2 minutes less than the time indicated on the package.
  9. At this point we recommend eliminating approximately 75% of the empty clam shells, while all the liquid and seasoning should be filtered with a sieve, in order to eliminate any sand residues and small pieces of broken shells;
  10. Then put all the filtered liquid and the clams back into the pan, turn the heat back on and pour in the al dente spaghetti which will continue to cook in the pan, absorbing the liquid and the clam seasoning, stir well until a tasty semi-liquid cream is formed.
  11. Turn off the heat, add the chopped parsley and stir well. 
  12. Serve on a large plate and buon appetito!

Are you ready to try the spaghetti alle vongole recipe? We assure you that the result will be exceptional!

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