I have no beef with food that makes me work, in fact I prefer food that makes me think about it, examine it, and attack it even! Think about the humble Kebab, a really good, authentic Doner…. it’s not that easy to negotiate (especially when you share one with my super groovy Wife, Clare) but the pay off is extreme! A giant slice of Pizza straight out of a wood oven is the same, you can’t just daintily knife and fork it…you need to get a game plan together in your head before you can get at it……least you end up with third degree burns or worse still no salami on your slice!!!
The same applies to wonderful sea food pasta dishes, especially the world famous Vongole where the shells are lashed in with the clam meat, the sauce and the pasta. This is not a dish you can simply ‘polish off’ with a few dainty flicks of a fork, oh no…..you need to hunt, forage and search you need to get your hands mucky whilst your fingers come dangerously close to ending up on the menu.
This Vongole blew me away for two reason – the first being the plate……just look at it, it’s nuts! It is the most elegantly retro, perfectly matched plate on the face of the planet especially for the Vongole that adornes it! The second was the simplicity of the dish – fresh clams, pasta, tomato and flat leaf parsley, every one of these flavours literally singing off the plate…..it made this hard guy real emotional I can tell you.
So this is how it’s done
For 2 people
Fresh clams, washed, bearded (if needed) about 600 – 800 grams for 2
3-4 Fresh chopped and seeded tomatoes
A little tomato pasata, a couple of tablespoons
Pasta such as Liguini, Spaghettini or Papardelle
In one pan warm up your pasata and chopped tomatoes, feel free to flavour with a little garlic but remember the clams have a delicate flavour, they can be easily overpowered by garlic. At the same time in another pan sling in your clams and a dashette of white vino or water and steam open. While that’s happening start cooking your pasta in salted water (don’t waste oil in the cooking water, it doesn’t prevent the pasta from sticking as some clowns think).
So…. you have all three pans on the bounce, the second the clams begin to open sling them into the tomatoes sauce and then sling the cooked pasta in on top – quick mixette around the pan and bang into serving plates with a scattering of flat leaf parsley.
This is the end result: