Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Gather & Share: Spaghetti Alle Vongole

February, and summer holidays are close behind us but a long way in the distant future.
We are dreaming of a food memory from some summers ago, Malta, on the deck of Gillieru restaurant at the 5pm sunset hour.

A chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, skin warm with the fading sun and fresh from an afternoon shower in the hotel. Below is St Paul's Bay, old men gather in groups outside doorways smoking, children are clambering down steps to play by the waters edge, women in aprons sit on plastic seats and talk with their neighbours. There is nothing like the light of the Mediterranean, how it illuminates and makes everything beautiful. We are feeling at one with the world.
Seafood is unsurprisingly the restaurant's speciality, we order Spaghetti Alle Vongole.
The best vongole ever.
Tonight we are going to cook it, it may never be as good as that one in Malta, but some food memories can never be replaced.
Here's the recipe.

Spaghetti Alle Vongole From A Malta Memory
recipe by Felicity Cloake in The Guardian

500g small clams
350g spaghetti (dry)
30g butter
2tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 fat cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 medium-hot red chilli, finely chopped
100ml dry white wine
Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Zest of 1/2 lemon, a spritz of juice


1: Rinse the clams in cold running water and scrub if necessary, then put in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Salt generously and leave for a couple of hours, then drain and rinse well to remove any grit or sand.
2: Put spaghetti into a large pan of salted boiling water and cook for a couple of minutes under the recommended time, until nearly done.
3: Meanwhile put half the butter and all of the olive oil into a large frypan over medium heat and soften the garlic and chilli.
4: Add the drained clams and turn up the heat. Pour in the wine and cover, leave for a couple of minutes until most of the shells have opened. Discard those that are still closed.
5: Drain spaghetti, add to the pan with remaining butter.Toss and add parsley, lemon zest and juice. Season and serve.  

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