One of my favorite dishes is spaghetti alle vongole, and I realised I had never done a post on it yet. This pasta with clams has great depth of flavor because of the juices that the clams will release when you cook them. Apart from the time needed to allow the clams to purge themselves, it only takes as long as it takes to cook the spaghetti.
Although this dish originally hails from Napels, it is prepared all along the long Italian coast. Most common varieties are with or without white wine and with or without tomatoes (versione rossa o bianca (red or white version)). I like it white, with a bit of white wine to make it easier to open up the clams without burning the garlic.
For the original dish you will need vongole veraci, but you can obtain good results with other types of small clams. To lessen the amount of carbs, I use less pasta than is common in Italy. You have to be careful with this, as the dish may become too salty. Feel free to use less clams than I did; the usual ratio is 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) of clams for 400 grams (.9 lbs) of spaghetti for 4 servings. In that case you may need to add a bit of salt, but always taste first.
1 kg (2.2 lbs) vongole or other small clams
200 grams (7 oz) spaghetti
1 clove garlic, minced
chili flakes, to taste
60 ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine
2 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the spaghetti without salt (as the clam juices will provide plenty of salt). Set the timer for 2 minutes less than indicated on the spaghetti package for al dente.
This is great with most unoaked Italian whites, such as Gavi di Gavi or Greco di Tufo or Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi (not riserva, which is oaked).
I don’t do a lot of Dutch cuisine, but boerenkool met worst (mashed kale and potatoes with smoked pork sausage) is nice when the ribs are removed from the kale, the pork sausage is artisanal and it is served with good homemade gravy.