One of the many things that I love about living in Italy is being able to get my hands on deliciously fresh clams or vongole at any time. Landlocked Munich has many charms, but a serious lack of fresh seafood, so in Italy, I gorge myself on fish and other seafood whenever I get the chance. The Italians really know what they are doing when it comes to this kind of thing, which is why today’s recipe, a classic Linguine Alle Vongole is so good.
This is simple food at its very best. Glorious fresh vongole or clams, sweet cherry tomatoes, plenty of garlic and lashings of olive oil, all stirred through perfectly al-dente linguine. To me, this is Italy on a plate, where the quality of ingredients is the star of the show. It’s a fantastic knock together dinner to impress a date, or great for preparing for a crowd as a lunchtime feast.
I buy our vongole from the local fishmonger and I find they are usually free of any sand. If you have gathered the vongole yourself, it’s worth putting the vongole in a bowl, covering them with cold water, stirring through around a teaspoon of salt and leaving for an hour or two to spit out any debris. An old Maori trick I learned in New Zealand is to sprinkle some crushed bran or ground oats over the top of the water. As this falls to the bottom the vongole will eat it up, spitting out any sand and plumping up on the grains!
On that note, this recipe works brilliantly with most small shellfish, so whether you’re gathering clams, pipis or cockles, you can use fairly much the same instructions. For the Kiwi’s and Aussie’s reading here, a ‘Linguine Alle Pipis’ is an absolute delicacy, the bright pink flesh of the cooked pipis is a real stunner.
Does Linguine Alle Vongole conjure up fabulous memories of an Italian vacation for you? Let me know in the comments below! xJ
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
- 500g vongole / small clams
- 250g linguine
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 100 ml white wine
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- pinch hot chilli flakes
- small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- sea salt and black pepper
- Rinse the vongole under cold water, then place in a saucepan with a splash of water. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes until the vongole have steamed open. Use a slotted spoon to lift them into a bowl, strain any cooking liquid through a fine sieve then set aside. If you like you can remove around half of the vongole from their shells. Be sure to discard any vongole that don’t open after cooking.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil, salt well, then add the linguine and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking until just al-dente- When cooked, drain in a colander, reserving 100ml of the pasta cooking water.
- While the pasta is cooking, gently heat the oil in a large frying pan. Cook the garlic for 1 minute until fragrant but not at all browned, then add the tomatoes. Cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes then pour in the white wine. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by about half.
- Add the oregano, chilli flakes and cooked linguine to the pan along with the vongole and the reserved pasta water. Cook, tossing to combine for 2-3 minutes until the pasta water has emulsified. The sauce may look a little runny, but it will thicken up. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately in warmed plates, scattered with plenty of fresh parsley.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 824Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 168mgSodium: 3168mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 5gSugar: 6gProtein: 73g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I make Linguine Alle Vongole in advance?
I’m afraid not. This is one of those dishes that you have to make as you go.
Can I use frozen clams or vongole to make this dish?
Yes! Clams or vongole can be cooked directly from frozen. You may find you need to add a minute or two to the cooking time to compensate.
Can I make Linguine Alle Vongole without the wine? I don’t drink alcohol!
es, you can, my Dad likes to use orange juice instead. I mix equal amounts of orange juice and water to replace the wine. It’s not traditional but the citrus tastes lovely with the shellfish.