Italy has such delicious clams that spaghetti with clams is always one of my top choices when we eat out. It’s also something I make at home frequently. It’s easy to prepare and I have a few magic ingredients that make this dish extraordinary. Everyone you serve it to will ask what you do to make your spaghetti alle vongole so amazing!
It goes without saying that you need to use only the very best and freshest ingredients but there are two things that I add to this dish that transform it into perfection: a few anchovy fillets and a little bit of cognac. They’re the kind of ingredients that you don’t actually taste when the dish is done but you‘ll notice that people say all the time “I’ve never had spaghetti with clams as good as this!”
- 1 kilogram Clams (35 ounces)
- 800 grams Spaghetti (28 ounces)
- 120 milliliters Olive oil (1/2 cup)
- 1 tablespoon red chili pepper minced
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes quartered
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 60 milliliters Cognac (1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons Parsley minced
- Clean the clams by placing several hours in cold, salted water.
- Start with super fresh clams, preferably local. Fill a sink with cold, heavily salted water, which mimics the clams' natural habitat sea environment. To keep the water really cold add ice cubes. Add the clams and let them clean themselves for an hour. The clams will eliminate any sand or dirt inside their shells.
- In the meantime prepare the base for your sauce, using a saucepan large enough to hold the clams.
- Sauté the pepper and garlic in the olive oil until sizzling.
- Add the tomatoes and cook covered on high for two minutes until they're nice and soft.
- Add the anchovy fillets and cognac and cook until the fillets begin to disintegrate, about two minutes.
- Use a potato masher to mash and amalgamate the sauce ingredients.
- Cook the clams covered on high just until all the shells have opened up. I usually turn them once so that every shell has enough space to open up. This will take just a few minutes.
- Remove the clams with a slotted spoon and keep covered.
- Strain the rest of the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove any additional sand and grit.
- In the meantime, cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente, or according to package instructions.
- Cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water until al dente, or according to package instructions.
- Drain and then toss into the pasta sauce.
- Transfer to a serving bowl.
- Add the clams, sprinkle with parsley and serve.