Pasta con le vongole verace. It might be my favorite pasta dish when I’m near the sea. . .
When cooked in an open kitchen overlooking the sea with Stromboli puffing in the distance, a glass of Regaleali wine on hand, it is even better!
400 gr pasta (linguine is great with this)
600 gr fresh clams
1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped (save the stalks)
4 garlic cloves
small pinch of chilli flakes
1/2 glass white wine
Extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
Lemon or lime for the zest
Clean the clams well to get rid of any sand and to make sure there are no dead ones.
Put a heavy bottomed pan on the heat and allow to get very hot.
Add the clams directly into the pan and stir, allow to heat for a minute then add half a glass of white wine, 2 whole garlic cloves and the parsley stalks, cover the pan with a lid and shake every now and again until all the clams are open.
Pour the clams and liquid into a sieve with a bowl underneath to collect the resulting stock.
Boil the pasta in lots of lightly salted water (the liquid from the clams will be salty so it is important not to salt the pasta too much).
In a large aluminium pan gently heat a generous dose of extra-virgin olive oil with 2 whole garlic cloves and a small pinch of chilli flakes.
When the pasta is half-cooked add to the pan with the oil and garlic and add the clam stock, finish cooking the pasta in the stock. If it starts to dry out add some of the pasta cooking water
When the pasta is cooked, reduce the liquid down until there is little left, turn off the heat, add a little pasta water and a healthy glug of olive oil and toss the contents until it is creamy. Add the clams and chopped parsley and toss again.
Taste to check the seasoning.
Serve with a little lemon or lime zest grated over the top. You can choose to leave the clams in the shells or to take them out. If you want to take them out, save a few nice shells to decorate the plate
Serves 4-6 people
Recipe by Chef Michael Sampson, Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School.