Learn how to make spaghetti alla vongole (aka spaghetti with clam sauce) with this recipe from Alex Guarnaschelli. This is my late mother's absolute favorite pasta dish and I watched her eat it everywhere from a diner to the finest Italian restaurants in the country. It is magical what happens when you combine the sweet (and also salty!) liquid from the clams and the meat to a plate of cooked dry pasta. While my Ciao House co-host Gabe won't pick clams as his first choice, I thought it would be fun to broaden his horizons on this one.
Technique tip: Make sure to thoroughly rinse and soak your clams to remove any bits of grit and dirt.
Swap option: You can make this using 3 pounds of mussels in place of the clams for a tasty seafood pasta.
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 8 ounces bottled clam juice
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 4 pounds Littleneck clams, thoroughly rinsed
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 scallions, green and white parts, sliced
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- kosher salt
- 1 pound dry linguine
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 12 sprigs flat leaf parsley, stemmed
In a large straight-sided skillet set over medium heat, add 1 cup of water, white wine, clam juice and lemon juice and simmer until the liquid has reduced by about half.2.
Meanwhile, rinse the clams under cold water to remove any sand or grit. Add the clams in a single layer and cook until the clams open, 5 to 8 minutes. Watch the clams cook and use a pair of metal tongs to remove the clams as they open. Reserve the cooked clams in a large bowl. Strain the cooking liquid through a double layer of cheesecloth or coffee filter and reserve the liquid.3.
Wipe out the pan used to cook the clams. Add the olive oil, scallions and garlic. Season with salt and cook over low heat until the garlic becomes translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.4.
Shell the clams. Add the clams and their cooking liquid and simmer over low heat. Taste for seasoning.5.
In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the pot and stir so it doesn't stick to the bottom and cook the pasta until al dente, chewy but not hard or raw tasting, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander.5.
Add the pasta to the pan with the clams and sauce. Add the butter and parsley and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning.