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SPAGHETTI ALLE VONGOLE: A Timeless Italian Classic

Spaghetti with clams represents one of the culinary treasures of Italian cuisine, as well as of my memory. It is the dish that my maternal grandfather, Danilo, excels at, traditionally preparing it in his seaside home during the summer - for at least 8 people.

Every year, without fail, he welcomes us with his spaghetti with clams (which must strictly be fresh clams bought from the port market by him, on the same morning).

FYI: this dish is best enjoyed when consumed in swimwear, on the terrace, accompanied by a glass (or two) of Vermentino di Gallura.

Celebrated for their simplicity and depth of flavor, the origins of this dish date back to the Campania region, with particular emphasis on the coastal city of Naples, where the combination of fresh seafood and pasta gave rise to an iconic dish loved worldwide.

Legend has it that the tradition of spaghetti with clams has ancient roots, dating back to ancient Rome, but the modern version took shape in the 18th century when pasta began to gain popularity in Italy.

The original recipe for spaghettiwith clams requires few ingredients but demands mastery of culinary technique to achieve perfection.

INGREDIENTS

  • 320-400 grams of spaghetti (ideal for 4 people)
  • 1 kilo of fresh clams
  • 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Red chili pepper (optional), chopped
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • A handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Begin by gently sautéing finely chopped garlic in extra virgin olive oil in a large pan. Then add the fresh clams and a pinch of chili pepper to give a touch of spiciness. Deglaze with a bit of white wine and let cook until the clams open, releasing their aromatic juice.

Meanwhile, boil the spaghetti in slightly salted water until they reach the right al dente consistency. Once ready, drain them and combine with the clam sauce, gently stirring to ensure the pasta absorbs all the flavors of the sea. Complete the dish with a generous sprinkling of fresh parsley for a touch of freshness.

Spaghetti with clams embodies the authenticity and simplicity of Italian cuisine: it is a dish that is never prepared for oneself alone and cannot be eaten when one is sad or when it is raining outside.