Today’s post is in honor of a few celebrations. Not only is it my 100th post in under a year of blogging, but I’m also celebrating my most recent food-and-wine-related purchase: a round trip ticket to Italy! GGD and I will officially be embarking on our foodie trip in July of 2013. To celebrate the purchase of our plane tickets, we created a delicious Italian meal and toasted to our future trip with a few glasses of Prosecco.
And in honor of this being my 100th post, and because it’s the season for giving, I’m offering my readers my very first give away! All you need to do is post a comment (preferably about Italy; i.e. where to visit, which city has the best food, winery suggestions, etc.) to this post and you will be entered to win a VinoAir aerator, that attaches directly to the bottle of wine – one of my favorite wine tools! And, of course, I will make sure to ship it in time for the holidays.
And now, onto the recipe… GGD and I based this dish off the one in the Canal House Cookbook (Vol 6), with some slight variations. The original recipe calls for dried linguine, but we wanted to use fresh wheat spaghetti so we had to make a few adjustments to the cooking method. I would highly suggest using fresh pasta because it makes a huge difference, but if you can’t find it or want to do it the more simple way, just get good quality Italian linguine.
Spaghetti alle Vongole (serves 4)
- About 1 lb fresh wheat spaghetti or linguine
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 anchovy fillets (canned is fine)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- pinch of red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1/2 cup white wine (table Chardonnay is fine)
- 32 oz clam juice
- 2 10-oz cans of clams in juice
- 1 cup of fresh bread crumbs (about 2 slices)
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- shredded Pecorino Romano (optional but suggested)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and crumble the bread in a food processor. Toss with 2 TB olive oil and salt and spread evenly onto a baking sheet. Bake until dry and golden (about 10 minutes), then set aside to cool.
Heat the olive oil over a medium-high flame in a large, deep pan (big enough to hold the pasta and clam juice). Once hot, add the anchovy fillets and smash with a wooden spoon, cooking for a couple of minutes or until anchovies and oil are blended. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and continue to cook for about a minute.
Lower the heat to medium and add the white wine, clam juice, and juice from the cans of clams (not the clams themselves). Clam juice can be found in most grocery stores and usually comes in 8 oz containers, so you will need 4 of those containers for this recipe. It may seem like a lot, but you cook the pasta in the clam juice and it will cook down into a thicker broth.
Once the broth is boiling, add the pasta. (If using dried pasta, cook for about 10 minutes, then add the clams and continue to cook for another three minutes or until the sauce is reduced.) Fresh pasta only takes about 3 minutes to cook, so put it in the pan with the broth and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can also add the clams at this time. After three minutes, remove the pasta from the pan and transfer to a strainer (put the strainer over a bowl next to the pan so it’s easier to transfer, rather than into a sink). It’s okay if you get some clams in there with the pasta.
Continue to cook the broth over a low heat for about 8 minutes, or until reduced to less than a cup. Add the pasta back into the broth and stir to combine for about a minute. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Garnish with parsley, bread crumbs (for a delicious crunchier texture), and grated Pecorino.
The flavors in this pasta are delicious. The clams are not too fishy, and provide a nice smokey flavor. The bread crumbs add crunch to the texture of the pasta, and the soft fresh spaghetti combined with the clam broth creates a creaminess. And the leftovers were just as good the next day. In a word, perfetto!
As I previously mentioned, we paired this dish with La Marca Prosecco, which can be found at Costco and most wine shops. It’s reasonably priced (about $12 at Costco, $16 at wine shops), and not too sweet with a great balance of acidity and fruit. And although we were drinking it for the purpose of celebrating, it actually went very well with the pasta!
We savored our Spaghetti alle Vongole and Prosecco while watching Under the Tuscan Sun on demand, naturally.
Don’t forget to enter my 100th Post Giveaway contest my commenting below!