Why am I in trouble? Is it for undercooking the pasta? Is it for overcooking the clams? Or, is it for adding too much or too little wine? No, none of the above. I’m in trouble because the Wife and the Mother both loved this dish.
They loved it so much, they gave out to me for not serving it before and for not having made it a regular feature on the dinner table. It looks like I’m destined to be a failure, even when I am having successes. If you are willing to risk your reputation and have people think that you really never cared for them, do cook this incredibly simple and delicious Italian classic. Like with so many great, simple dishes, the ingredients list is pretty short.
You will need the following
- 1 kilo of fresh clams
- 300 grammes of spaghetti
- 1 handful of parsley
- 1 red chili
- 3 cloves or one single bulb garlic
- 1 glass of nice white Italian wine
- A little oil for frying
- A little butter to get an emulsion going in the sauce
- A good sense of timing
A couple of hours before dining, place the clams in a big bowl of cold water, with iodine free salt added (I used 2 tablespoons to a half-gallon of water).
This fools the clams into thinking they are back in the ocean and they open and close their shells.
This gets rid of a lot of the sand and grit that one accumulates in one’s shell when one is a clam. Wash and scrub the clams.
Discard any that are open or that don’t close when you touch them.
Bring a pot of water to the boil and add some salt. Cook the spaghetti. You need to move quickly now. Chop the garlic, chili and parsley up nice and fine.
When the spaghetti is ‘al denté’, put a decent sized saucepan on the stove and add the oil. Throw in the chili and the garlic. Fry until the garlic aroma arises.
Add the clams and stir them around. When they start to spit and threaten to open, add half a glass of the wine. Drink the other half. Drain the spaghetti and add it and the parsley to the now opened clams. Add a couple of knobs of butter and stir to thicken the sauce a little. Do discard any unopened clams at this stage. Stir to combine as best you can.
Call your diners and serve them this fantastic Italian feast. There is enough for four. I served three of us and got into trouble for not having prepared it before. I suppose that is the highest praise one can get, in a strange, backhanded way. Still, I took some small comfort in mopping up the sauce with some tasty white bread.