Spaghetti alle Vongole is a seafood pasta dish originating in Naples, Italy that couples pasta with clams. There is quite a lot of dispute around whether or not the dish should be served with tomato (rosso), but for our recipe here, we’ve stuck to the most traditional version (bianco). This simple Neopolitan recipe packs a powerful punch and as with most simple dishes, the quality of the ingredients is paramount to its success.
This is a recipe from Delicious Magazine UK.
- 350g spaghetti
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- ½ tsp deseeded and finely sliced red chilli
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 500g small clams, cleaned and rinsed
- Good splash dry white wine
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flatleaf parsley leaves and stems
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti for about 7-8 minutes according to the packet instructions until al dente.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chilli and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until the garlic is softened but not coloured. Add the cleaned clams to the pan along with the wine. Cover and cook over a fairly high heat for 2-3 minutes until the clams have opened. Remove from the heat, then pick out and discard any clams that haven’t opened.
- Drain the spaghetti and add to the pan with the clams, turning gently to combine. Stir in the chopped parsley and drizzle over a little olive oil if it looks a bit dry. Taste, season and serve immediately.
The History of Spaghetti alle Vongole
It wasn’t until the 1800s that the dish first appeared in a cookbook. Ippolito Cavalcanti, the duke of Buonvicino in Italy, published the first formal recipe for the dish in his cookbook written in Neapolitan dialect. Having said that, clams were a staple food for centuries. Humans have been harvesting clams for at least 9,000 years as archaeological middens have proved. There is even evidence that early humans constructed clam gardens as an early form of aquaculture management. In Victorian times, it was common for clams and mussels to be sold in markets as an inexpensive food source for the working classes.
Clams are a bivalve found in coastal and estuarine environments and there are many different species. The word ‘clam’ meant ‘shut’ and that’s just what it can do. The meat is the whole muscle inside the shell which can shut itself off to protect it from predators. In Australia, clams are harvested along the entire coast of the country, but the harvest fluctuates seasonally. Some species found in Australia include Vongole, Pipi, Surf Clam, Sydney Cockle, Blood Cockle and Razor Clams.
We sell Littleneck Clams in Kilo packs that are cleaned and ready to cook. Littleneck Clams are also known as New Zealand Cockles and Vongole and are sustainably wild harvested in New Zealand from remote beaches and bays.
We recommend using only the very finest ingredients to make this dish. It is also recommended in many recipes to cook the pasta slightly under (about one minute less) than al dente – this is called al chiodo as the pasta continues to cook once the clams are added.
We’d love to see your finished spaghetti creation! Why not tag us in a post on Instagram (@dawsonsoysters) and share your culinary success!