A Recipe for (Busy) Pasta Lovers
Writer: Eric Ip
Designer: Michelle Le
Feeling overwhelmed by endless assignments and deadlines? Wishing you could unwind but don’t have much time to spare? How about treating yourself to a delicious dinner that takes less than 30 minutes to whip up?
In this article, we will prepare spaghetti alle vongole together. All you need are some simple ingredients, like spaghetti, clams, and your favourite white wine (for flavouring and savouring!). If you like spice, feel free to add extra crushed red pepper flakes. Then watch the magic happen as you combine everything into a scrumptious pasta dish!
To enhance your experience, pair your spaghetti alle vongole with a glass (or two) of white wine that will balance out all the flavours; I’ve listed some recommendations below the recipe. Keep in mind the wine is for cooking and drinking—cooking with white wine helps to add some tang and acidity to your dish. (And as for drinking…well, it’ll help make your evening more fun.)
This classic Italian dish is guaranteed to make any night special. With the salty sweetness of the clams and the fresh fragrance of the herbs, the first bite will keep you coming back for more. Grab your ingredients and let’s cook together!
(Psst, cheese lovers: you might want to skip cheese for this dish. Adding it may overpower the flavour of the seafood and make everything taste a bit, well, too cheesy!)
Preparation: 10 min
Cooking: 15 min
Total time needed: 25 min
- 10-15 clams (or depending on how many you’d like to eat)
- ¼ bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- ½ of a shallot, finely diced
- ½ cup of white wine
- 2 tbsp of olive oil (for sauce; for pasta, drizzle a tiny amount)
- ½ tsp of crushed red pepper (use more or less depending on how spicy you want it)
- ½ of a lemon, juiced
- 30g of cold butter, cubed
- 1 pinch of salt (for boiling pasta)
- Salt and pepper (for sauce, season to taste)
Preparing the Clams:
For fresh clams: soak in a large bowl of cold, heavily salted water for at least 20 minutes or up to two hours. This helps expel sand from the shells. Afterwards, drain and rinse clams under cold water. Then, using a stiff brush or sponge, scrub each clam to clean the shells.
For packaged clams: simply rinse, then drain. If frozen, allow clams to thaw by placing them in the refrigerator overnight.
Cooking the Pasta:
- In a deep pot, bring water to a boil. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and add spaghetti to the pot, cooking for eight minutes on high heat.
- Prepare a bowl of cold water to place the spaghetti into once it’s cooked—this will help cool it down and keep it from becoming overcooked. We want the texture to be al dente: firm but not hard, with slight resistance when bitten into.
- Afterwards, drain the spaghetti and drizzle with some olive oil, then mix well.
Cooking the Sauce:
- In a pan, add 2 tbsp of olive oil, diced shallot, chopped garlic, and crushed red pepper. Sauté over medium heat until aroma comes out and shallot turns transparent. Then, add the clams and sauté a bit more. Add 1/2 cup of white wine, cover with a lid, and boil over medium to high heat until all your clams are open and cooked (if any remain closed, just toss them out).
- Juice half of a lemon into your clam sauce and add chopped parsley. Over medium heat, let the sauce simmer.
- Cube cold butter into small pieces and slowly melt them one at a time into the sauce. Keep stirring until sauce is thick enough to coat your spaghetti. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Combining Everything Together:
- Place spaghetti in the clam sauce and mix well. You can tweak the consistency of the sauce either by adding some hot water or folding in more melted butter, adjusting the overall flavour with salt, pepper, and spice as you go.
- When you’re ready, plate it and pour yourself a glass of white wine, then enjoy!
In Conclusion: A bit about Spaghetti Alle Vongole
Spaghetti alle vongole, or spaghetti with clams, is a perfect example of an Italian classic. Not only is it easy to make, it’s delicious as well. This dish originated in Naples, where clams have been the symbol of local cuisine for centuries.
Traditionally, spaghetti alle vongole was cooked with bianco (white) sauce, before those in southern Italy—especially in Campania and Puglia—added tomatoes and basil to make the rosso (red) sauce version. As its popularity grew, it’s now regarded as one of the most beloved pasta dishes in the world!
Elevate your dish with these Canadian white wines:
Dry and zesty, with notes of grapefruit and green apple. This wine helps to balance out the richness of the garlic-infused oil, and pairs perfectly with the fresh clams.
Crisp and sometimes sweet, with hints of lemon and honey. This wine contrasts well with the saltiness of the clams and adds complexity to the overall experience.