Sunday, April 24, 2011

Classic Spaghetti Vongole

For those who have noticed, I have a recent fetish with pasta dishes, and I have been honing my pasta skills and for that, I have a special mentor too.

The thing about pasta is that cooking it is really very simple, but mastering it and creating genuine tasty pasta dishes is really something else.

I would advise those who would really like to learn how to cook great pasta, not to resort to bottled sauces in the supermarts, as this is really not the best way to cook great pasta.

It is all about the sauces, and cooking and making great sauces isn't really that hard to do, but it does take a bit of practice and understanding to get it right. So, for today, I would like to touch on a classic Italian favorite, vongole.

Vongole is basically clams (ie. la la) cooked in white wine sauce and tossed with either linguine or spaghetti. As a rule, thicker pastas like parpadelle or tagliatelle usually go better with thick cream sauces, while the thinner, finer pastas go best with lighter sauces like vongole.

To being, cook some spaghetti and drain and run it under cold water. Take heed not to overcook spaghetti as it can be quite soggy and become more like chinese noodles.

In a pan, saute lots of sliced garlic in olive oil. If you like some heat and spice, add some chopped chilli. For this to turn out really well, cook this under very high heat but be sure not to overcook the garlic.

Make sure the clams are thoroughly washed so as not to have any sand in them. Once the garlic aroma comes out, add in the clams and toss and stir to mix well with the garlic for a minute or so.

Then add in about a cup of white wine and let it boil and reduce under the intense heat. I suggest high heat as cooking the white wine and boiling it so intensely will create an emulsion later as you reduce and give a great consistency later.

Then as the wine reduce, the clams will start to open and once the wine has reduced to about half, add in a knob of butter to give it that extra flavor. Season with some light salt and black pepper, and taste. It should you give you that lovely sweetness from the clams with the aromatic wine aroma.

Remove from heat and plate it. Garnish it with some chopped parsley or if you like, toss the parsley in the pan as you remove from the heat before you plate it.

And there you have it, classic vongole. Simple, but expect to do this a few times to get it just right.

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