A classic recipe, and one that everyone should be able to make, is spaghetti alle vongole veraci, a simple starter made with sea fruit, suitable for any season. Preparing it takes about 20 minutes, but don't underestimate the time it takes to remove the sand from the vongole.
One of the best-known seafood dishes, gli spaghetti all vongole veraci, is a classic of the Neapolitan tradition.
There are a lot of variations to this dish, everyone has their own way of making it. Some people add vegetables, or tomatoes for a 'red' version, or sometimes tuna is added. We will show the most classic and simple version of the recipe.
The secret to success for this pasta dish is the choice of ingredients and the proper cleaning of the vongole. You should use fresh vongole, that have sat in cold water with the right amount of salt (70 ml salt per litre water) for at least one night, or better still, in seawater. This period in the water guarantees a good cleaning of the vongole, which are still checked before they are cooked. Hold the shells under flowing water and check to see if they are closed. You can tap the shells that are open on the back: if they close, you can use them in the dish.
Heat a splash of olive oil in a wide, shallow pan and add garlic and chilli. Gently fry the garlic and chilli, then add the white wine. Allow the alcohol to evaporate and add the vongole. Put the lid on the pan and stir them occasionally. The hot steam that is formed in the closed pan will cause the shells to open. You won't need any additional liquid to cook the vongole. In the meantime, boil the spaghetti according to the directions on package. When all shells are open, you can add the Pernod and 2/3 of the parsley. Allow the alcohol to evaporate and add the spaghetti to the shells in the pan. Sprinkle the pasta with a handful of Parmesan cheese, shake the pan with the lid on. Season the pasta with salt and pepper. Take the spaghetti and shells out of the pan onto a preheated bowl, and let the liquid in the pan reduce until you have a sauce. Sprinkle the remaining parsley on top.
For 4 people:
- 1.5 - 2 kilos of vongole
- 2 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- Bundle of parsley, finely chopped
- 1 chilli pepper, finely chopped
- 1 glass of white wine
- 2 tablespoons of Pernod
- Handful of Parmesan cheese
- 400 grams of spaghetti
- 1 cube of butter
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper