I have always been a fan of linguine con vongole, pasta with clam sauce, and last year I had the good fortune to see it made. It is as simple as can be, and open to a lot of customization, as demonstrated by my version below.
As I do so often, this recipe was adjusted to suit the ingredients I had on hand and my personal taste. In particular, the variations include thin spaghetti instead of linguine, frozen cooked clams in the shell instead of fresh clams, frozen bay scallops because I had them and I thought they would fit nicely, added shallots because I bought a bag of them cheap, a teaspoon of clam soup base I had lying around, and a heavy hand with the garlic and parsley because they taste good.
The frozen clams in the shell are a frustrating ingredient. I prefer them to fresh because the quality is very consistent and they are tasty, but they invariably leave bits of broken shell which I hate… hate hate hate so much! One of these days I will try fresh clams again, but in the meantime it is back to canned clams which I find to work well and have the consistent quality and shell-lessness I value so highly. Still, despite the occaisional crunch, it was really delicious.
Thin spaghetti with clams and scallops:
8oz freshly cooked thin spaghetti
16oz defrosted cooked clams in the shell
3oz frozen scallops
10 cloves garlic, pressed
5 small shallots, pressed
1/2 cup minced Italian parsley
1/2 cup white wine
3 tbs butter
3 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp clam soup base paste
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the noodles and start cooking them, about 6 minutes. On medium heat, sautee the butter, olive oil, garlic and shallots for a few minutes until cooked, do not brown.
Add the clams, clam base, scallops, parsley, chilli flakes and wine, and simmer for 4 or 5 minutes.
I removed most of the shells before plating… they are visually appealling but tend to get in the way. Add the drained cooked noodles, and the parmesan to thicken and season it, and stir well. Serve with a glass of white wine.
Here’s a version I made last week, with canned clams, frozen calamari, and fresh prawns.