Spaghetti alle Vongole
To serve 4 to 6
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soft butter
6 cloves finely chopped or grated garlic
1 tsp dried Oregano
Red Pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine or Vermouth
1 cup clam broth, fresh from the
clams (below) or bottled.
6 to 8 quarts of water
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound spaghetti, spaghettini or linguine
3 dozen small hard-shell clams
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley,
preferably the flat-leaf Italian type
In a heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil until a light haze forms
over it. Stir in the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly,
for about 30 seconds. Add the dried Oregano and red pepper flakes. Add the butter.
Pour in the wine then clam broth and boil briskly over
high heat until the foam disappears, and the liquid has reduced by half.
Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large pot, bring the water and the salt to a bubbling
boil over high heat. Drop in the spaghetti and stir it gently with a wooden
fork or spoon for a few moments to prevent the strands from sticking to
one another or the bottom of the pot. Boil over high heat, stirring occasionally,
for 7 to 12 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Test it by tasting
a strand; it should be soft but “al dente” – that is, slightly resistant to the
bite. Reserve one cup of pasta water (salt and starch is useful to thin the sauce later).
Immediately drain the spaghetti into a large colander, lifting the
strands with a fork to be sure it is thoroughly drained. Transfer the spaghetti
to a large serving bowl.
Bring the sauce in the skillet to a boil over high heat and add the clams. Cook the
clams, turning them constantly, for 2 to 4 minutes until they all open.
If a clam doesn’t open, discard it. Then add the spaghetti to the clams and sauce,
sprinkle with parsley and toss together until all the ingredients are well mixed.
Add the reserved pasta water if the sauce is not enough to coat the pasta.
Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve at once in the large serving bowl.
Pair with a nice glass of Chabernet. Enjoy!