Simple Spaghetti Vongole

Adapted from the simple recipe on the Food Network


  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced (or half an onion)
  • 5 to 7 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 ½ pounds live, small clams, scrubbed clean
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced into small cubes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, zested, for garnish


  1. In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water.
  2. Add pasta, stirring constantly in the beginning to prevent it from sticking together. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan.
  4. When almost smoking, add shallots and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  5. Add the clams and wine. Cover and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until most clams have opened.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.
  7. Whisk in butter to thicken sauce slightly.
  8. Save 1/2 cup of pasta water
  9. Drain pasta in a colander.
  10. Place pasta into the clam saute pan and mix thoroughly. Check seasoning.
  11. Mix in a few spoonful of reserved pasta water.
  12. Pour pasta into large serving bowl.
  13. Zest lemon over the dish, being carefull not to zest the white part of the lemon, which is bitter.
  14. Garnish with remaining parsley.
  15. Serve immediately.


  • Throw away clams that have already opened, they are dead
  • Throw away any cooked clams that refuse to open; they are also dead
  • Don’t leave clams in water too long, salted or not; they will drown. Instead, leave them in a bowl and cover with a damp towel in the fridge.

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