Today it’s Friday, and you know what it means: Friday fish random recipe time! And we are very excited because we will make one of the most straightforward yet incredible Italian dishes: spaghetti with clams or spaghetti alle vongole in Italian.
Spaghetti with clams: a lifestyle choice
Despite the simplicity of this dish, few are so controversial and the subject of so many culinary disputes.
Some people put the wine in: on the other hand, there are who deeply loathe it.
Some boil them for 30-second the clams and then open them with a knife; some people let them open in a pan with garlic, olive oil, and a bit of chili.
In short, the variations are endless: one for every cook, and rightly so. Looking for the perfect spaghetti with clams recipe is like reconciling Peter Pan with Captain Hook.
Given the vastness of the topic, we gathered feedback and some great chefs’ techniques to give you a classic recipe to start with. Then you should try to find your way and favorite recipe. This is the beauty of cooking!
We’ll start with the ingredients, which are few, but they must be perfect. Let’s start!
Ingredients for making spaghetti with clams
- 1 kg of clams
- 4 small garlic cloves
- 35 grams of EVOO
- 30 grams of chopped parsley
- 450 grams of spaghetti or linguine
How to make the perfect spaghetti with clams recipe
The clams: here, all agree that there should be an all-night-long purge: put them in salted water and then refrigerate. If you live on the island of Wild Orchid, you can use a bucket of seawater. After that, rinse them and remove the broken ones.
Peel and chop garlic with a knife. In a large skillet, place the extra virgin oil and fry garlic and parsley for 5 minutes on low heat.
Now put clams in the pan and cook until they are opened. 5 minutes.
This is the crossroad, the point that distinguishes a homemade recipe from the great chefs.
Such as the legendary Pier Giorgio Parini, who boil clams in water for 5 seconds and open them with a knife (the same you use for oysters) to collect their water.
In this way, all the flavor of the clams remains pure and “uncooked,” but if you aren’t a skilled swordsman, please avoid dangerous techniques.
At this point, you have to cook spaghetti in abundant and slightly salty water, drain al dente, and sauté them in the pan, seasoning with a sprinkling of pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Don’t add salt: the clams’ water is salty enough.
Variations and conclusions: the perfect recipe doesn’t exist
Drawing conclusions is complex, and it’s impossible to impose a final recipe. Still, we can say that if at home everything is permitted in the name of culinary freedom, in a restaurant, there should be no compromise but only respect for excellent ingredients: garlic, spaghetti, olive oil, and top-notch clams.
The most controversial variation is the addition of wine. But let’s be honest, if the clams are great, you do not need to add wine. Indeed the addition of an aromatic or strongly scented wine makes the dish enticing but covers the delicate flavor of clams.
Fresh tomato or chili. If you have bought good, but not great, clams, it’s ok to try.
A pinch of sweet paprika is always welcome.
What wine to drink with spaghetti with clams?
A salty, aromatic, and super fragrant Grüner Veltliner.
If you want to pair a cocktail, make a Dry Martini.