Prep Time 15 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
Sadly, the Ligurian coast is not rich in fish so the traditional cooking does not feature the wide variety of fish dishes found a few kilometers away in France or in other regions of Italy. Stoccafisso (salt cod) is very much a local dish but it is really anchovies, sardines and shellfish which are the fishy stars of the Ligurian diet.
Spaghetti alle vongole is on the menu of just about every restaurant in the region but like everything in Italy there are many ways of cooking it with everyone arguing their corner about what is best. I prefer it ‘bianco’ without the tomato but with extra chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon, sometimes even adding the lemon zest. Some people add a knob of butter along with the oil.
On our coast when you order vongole expect it to come with mussels and all sorts of shellfish, I suppose whatever was available that morning at the fish market.
- Vongole (clams) or mussels or a mixture of the two, 1 kg/ 2.2lb
- Nudo extra virgin olive oil, a generous glug
- Garlic, 3 cloves
- Flat leaf parsley, a small bunch
- White wine, 1 glass or roughly 100 ml/ 3.3 fl oz
- Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper
- Dried spaghetti, 400g/ 14oz
- Rinse the vongole in cold running water to get rid of any debris and discard any that aren’t tightly closed and then soak them in cold salty water for an hour or so to get rid of any sand, rinsing again under cold water until clean.
- Get the spaghetti on in a large pan of salted boiling water with the lid on and cook until it is al dente.
- Finely slice the parsley stalks and roughly chop the leaves. Peel and chop the garlic.
- Measure out 100 ml of white wine.
- Add a generous lug of Nudo extra virgin olive oil to the pan. Fry the garlic and parsley stalks for about 5 minutes until soft taking care to keep the heat low so they do not catch.
- Drain the vongole and turn up the heat on the pan.
- Add the vongole giving the pan a good shake. As it starts to steam put on the lid and cook for 3–4 minutes until the vongole have opened. Pour in the wine, cover and leave for a couple of minutes until the vongole have opened, discarding any that are still closed.
- Drain the spaghetti and add to the pan of vongole.
- Add the parsley leaves and a generous drizzle of Nudo extra virgin olive oil. Toss it around in the pan for a few minutes mixing it all together so that the lovely juice absorbs into the pasta.
- Serve with plenty of fresh crusty bread to soak up the juice.