SPAGHETTI ALLE VONGOLE

I love a celebration, so I look for the simple pleasures like a casual meal with family & friends, and make it memorable with an elegant table. Creating the environment is half the party for me, the rest is food and conversation. Even when the meal is a simple pasta, adding luscious greens and wild flowers makes everything feel special. I mix in formal glassware with everyday pieces, like these etched Williams Sonoma goblets that can be used for water or wine, vintage silver flatware and any other treasured pieces like heirloom china or white embroidered linens. These items we've collected over the years were designed to be used, not collecting dust in the sideboard. I swear no one is unhappy when they eat Spaghetti alle Vongole. Garlicky, lemony clams tossed in white wine and good olive oil, over al dente pasta, simple and oh so delicious! It's a quick and fun dish to serve for a group of friends. Plan for a long leisurely meal where you sip on wine in-between laughter and bites of spaghetti.

Ingredients 

serves 6
  • 1 lb dried pasta
  • 3-4 lbs Manila or Little Neck Clams
  • 1/2 c dry white wine
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of chili flakes
  • Handful of roughly chopped parsley 
  • 1 lemon, zested, 1/2 juiced
  • Flaky sea salt & fresh cracked pepper
  • Fine sea salt for cooking
  • Good olive oil

Method

In a large bowl or tub, soak the clams to remove any excess sand or barnacles from the outside. Instead of dumping the clams through a strainer, remove the clams by hand from the tub with water. Dumping directly into a strainer will just wash the sand back into the crevices of the clams. Next, boil a pot of water for the pasta with 1 tbsp of fine sea salt. Cook the pasta very al dente. Reserve 1/2 c of pasta water for the clams.

In a large sauté pan or large pot with a lid, warm the pan and add a good glug of olive oil. Add the garlic, once it becomes fragrant, 1-2 mins (be careful not to burn the garlic) then add the chili flakes and a pinch of fine sea salt, stir a few times. Next, add the clams and white wine, cover the pot with a lid. 

Check the clams after 3-6 minutes once they have opened and released some of their juices add the cooked pasta and 1/4-1/2c of the reserved pasta water. Be sure to pasta water add in small batches to not over dilute/cook. Toss the clams & pasta until the pasta is al dente, add a squeeze of lemon juice. Remove from heat.

Serve immediately and garnish with flaky sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and roughly chopped parsley.