Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's for dinner?

Back when I was working more than fulltime I was happy when there was anything at all but limes and mixers in my fridge. But now that I have all the time in the world to figure out what's for dinner I will share with you some of my favorite recipes. This one is a classic Italian dish called Spaghetti alle Vongole. It should be made with small clams, but after my razor clam digging experience a few days ago, I will make it with chopped razor clams and see how that goes. Here's the recipe for you! It makes enough for two to three people as a main course.


N.B. I'm Dutch, so all amounts are metric. Americans should convert to cups and pounds.
  • 1kilo of small clams, scrubbed clean
  • a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 10 cherry tomatoes (optional, but I like it)
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • 400g dried spaghetti
  • sea salt and freshly ground
  • black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1–2 dried red chillies

And then what?

Put a pan of water on to boil. Finely slice the parsley stalks, then put them to one side and roughly chop the leaves. Peel and chop the garlic, quarter the cherry tomatoes and get your wine out and start sipping on it to make cooking this dish even more enjoyable. Remember to save 250 ml for your pasta!

Add the pasta to the boiling water with a good pinch of salt and cook until al dente (so not too soggy, it still should have some bite). About 5 minutes before your pasta is ready, get ready to start cooking – you'll have to be quick about this, or else it's all ruined! Send everyone out of the kitchen and focus. Put a generous amount (really, don't hold back) of olive oil into the hot pan and add the garlic, parsley stalks and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Crumble in the dried chilli and add the quartered cherry tomatoes. Stir everything around constantly and just as the garlic starts to colour (be careful not to burn it because that tastes bitter), throw in the clams and splash in the wine. It will splutter and steam, so give everything a good shake and put the lid on the pan. After about 3 to 4 minutes the clams will start to open, so keep shuffling the pan around until all of them have opened. Take the pan off the heat . Get rid of any clams that haven't opened.

By now your pasta should be just about perfect. Check it. When 'al dente', drain and add to the pan of clams along with the parsley leaves and an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if needed. Toss for a further minute or two into the hot clam mixture to let the flavors from the clams, garlic and wine be absorbed into the pasta. Serve right away. Enjoy!

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